Wrights Food Group has agreed a two-year shirt sponsorship deal with American Football team Staffordshire Surge.The deal came about after a Wrights employee, who plays for the team, approached chairman and CEO Peter Wright.“As soon as we met with the club, we knew it would be a great opportunity for us to work together as they have fantastic people on and off the pitch,” said Wright. “It’s also really important for us to support local clubs and our employees’ outside interests.”The deal has enabled the team to purchase new kits for the squad and will provide funding for training venues and travel.“On behalf of everyone at the company, I’d like to wish the Surge the very best for their games ahead; we’re looking forward to working with them for the remainder of our sponsorship deal,” added Wright.Peter Mills, finance director at Staffordshire Surge, said everyone at the club was delighted to have Wrights sponsoring the club.“So far we have 65 players and 10 members of staff and coaches, but we’re hoping to grow even more, now we have the support from Wrights.”
A hundred years of handshakes. Kevin “Kit” Parker, a U.S. Army major and Harvard bioengineering professor who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, says that fostering long-term friendships, not creating novel weapons or unleashing mighty military force, will ultimately stabilize the Middle East.In a talk hosted by Cherry A. Murray, dean of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Parker recently (Nov. 18) shared his “ground-truth” experiences from the front lines with a packed audience of staff, faculty, students, and uniformed ROTC trainees.“We’ve overengineered this war,” said Parker, the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Applied Science, who served in Afghanistan in 2002-03 and in 2009. The true battle, he explained, was one of information (“influencing local politics”) and infrastructure (“developing roads, schools, and mosques”).Ultimately, winning over the population there is “the substrate for victory,” Parker said, referencing his own field of tissue engineering, where cells are grown and guided on chemical scaffolds. Without a holistic, long-term strategy of “kinetic and nonkinetic solutions” implemented over several decades, he said, the prospects for even limited success are dim.Parker showed how life on the battlefield is harsh, playing footage of a controlled explosion of a “small” IED (improvised explosive device, such as a roadside bomb) that rocked the camera. In another clip, Parker and his fellow soldiers were sandwiched on a narrow mountain pass after a larger roadside bomb eviscerated a vehicle in front of their own.The audience gasped on seeing the battalion ravaged by incessant gunfire streaming from a nearby village where enemy soldiers had holed up. By using villagers as human shields, a common tactic, air support becomes “impossible,” and the fighting, said Parker, “gets gnarly.”In fact, the fighting has become so intense that even the trained military dogs that sniff out bombs have begun to develop signs of post traumatic-stress disorder. When a $10 IED can take out a $600,000 armored assault vehicle, the challenge of winning by “bang, bang, shoot ’em up” tactics becomes an economic and mathematical impossibility, Parker said.Treating the situation as a systems-level problem, he said the only way forward involves improving the understanding and influencing the dynamic socioeconomic system of Afghanistan and the surrounding countryside.“In the villages,” he said, “the most high-tech thing is the AK-47, which is then followed by the wheel.” Much of the population remains so isolated that when American soldiers first showed up in 2002, many tribes thought “they were those Russians they once heard about.”Moreover, grave poverty makes the population susceptible to exploitation by fundamentalist organizations such as the Taliban and by unknowing participants in someone else’s political agenda.Given the “medieval” conditions of the area, “using money to buy friends” becomes a highly effective weapon for the military. To gain trust, young “gunslingers” find themselves having to assume the role of diplomats, civil engineers, and project managers, influencing, from the bottom up, one local leader and one village at a time. The problem is, Parker, said, that they have not been properly trained for these tasks.Pointing to two photos, one with Parker approaching a local Afghan leader and one of him shaking his hand, Parker said that “no one has the technology” to understand how to achieve this simple yet powerful act of friendship.“With no such laws or targeting algorithms for targeting such assets, success for a soldier comes down to force of personality or luck,” he said. How a soldier engages a local leader has geopolitical implications, as one relationship may influence thousands of others.Further, the decision of where to place a road, or which mosque to refurbish, may determine the course of the war more than a broad tactical decision made by the State Department. Because “there is no emergence of a leadership class in Afghanistan,”all politics and the current war will remain local.With that in mind, Parker ended with a series of questions that he hopes students and faculty from Harvard and elsewhere might tackle. Could we build a tool, along the lines of the Web virtual world Second Life, for teaching engagement techniques in countries similar to Afghanistan? Could insights from social science, neuroscience, cognitive science, and engineering create algorithms that could help predict the potential success of placing a road or a school in a particular region? Might soldiers in the field “do a bit of sociology” and take their findings back to experts for analysis?The decision that President Obama now has to make about the future of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and the surrounding region is paramount, Parker said. It comes down to “whether we are going to pull the ripcord or stay for a while.” And by a while, he meant for the foreseeable future.
119 Ridge St, Northgate.A LUXURIOUS 1920s Queenslander was expected to appeal to families looking for a home with its heritage on show. 119 Ridge St, Northgate.The four bedroom, two bathroom, two car space property is being marketed by Janelle McKenna and Lisa Pearse-Sargeant of Ray White Ascot as a family home sought after because of its massive 880sq m block. Nestled in the suburb of Northgate, 119 Ridge Street is close to the airport, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. The single-storey layout incorporates numerous indoor and outdoor entertaining areas, along with private living spaces. The first floor’s starred entry is preceded by an established garden with lawn, trees and shrubs and passes through a covered veranda with ornate balustrade. 119 Ridge St, Northgate.The shared bathroom is naturally lit and comes with a frosted glass shower, bathtub and timber-finished vanity.The spacious kitchen complements its surroundings with timber benchtops and cabinetry, quality stainless steel appliances and a large serving window out to the rear deck. Its accompanying breakfast area flows to the deck through bi-fold doors. This sprawling outdoor entertaining area is covered by an angular roof with exposed timber beams. Stairs lead down to a backyard and lagoon-style pool with covered gazebo and surrounding native palms. More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor7 hours ago119 Ridge St, Northgate.Inside, elegant period features such as polished hoop pine floors, high ceilings, VJ walls and decorative cornices flow throughout each room. A hallway with artistic archways separates the three bedrooms, all of which boast built-in wardrobes and carpet. The main bedroom also has french doors out to the front veranda. Open-plan dining and lounge rooms provide a seamless transition from formal to informal living, along with airconditioning and traditional casement windows. The nearby study nook and laundry are both discreetly placed to one side. 119 Ridge St, Northgate.The rear deck also incorporates a stylish guesthouse with an ensuite, walk-in wardrobe and loft. A single-car garage resides underneath the main house.With solar power and multiple water tanks, this property has a firm focus on environmental sustainability. Year-round comfort is ensured, thanks to a fully insulated roof, ceiling fans and an abundance of cooling breezes.Ms McKenna said the residence epitomised the Australian dream, bringing function, style, luxury and warmth together. The property goes to auction at 1pm on Saturday March 25.
Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title LATEST STORIES Ateneo, which entered the game tied with UP at 3-1, wound up taking sole ownership of the top spot after a resounding, 25-21, 25-15, 28-26, giving the Lady Eagles a 4-1 record.UP star Isa Molde, who was limited to just six points, rued her team’s lack of mental fortitude against the Lady Eagles who showed that they wanted the win more than the Lady Maroons.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubs“The problem is the team’s mental toughness and that’s, what I think, was missing from us,” said Molde in Filipino.UP showed a semblance of fight in the third set when it went tit-for-tat with Ateneo but Deanna Wong ended the Lady Maroons’ persistence with a well-placed kill. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Molde, who’s averaging 16.8 points heading into the game, added her team just couldn’t hold on and eventually gave in against the Lady Eagles.“I think we fell short and I guess Ateneo wanted this more than us,” said Molde, whose Lady Maroons dropped to fifth spot in the standings.Molde also said that they can’t let the losses affect their emotions and they know that they have to win their remaining two games in order to get momentum entering the second round.“The coaches always tell us that we shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves because if we let our morale down in the next two games it would be harder for us to bounce back,” said Molde.“They told us to just forget about this loss and we have to recover for our next match.”ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history Ginebra tops Phoenix, climbs to 4-3 Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra View comments MOST READ Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Fans fill up Philippine Arena for SEA Games opening PLAY LIST 01:02Fans fill up Philippine Arena for SEA Games opening00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief UP Lady Maroons. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—University of the Philippines had the chance to claim sole possession of first place in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament when it faced Ateneo Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre.The Lady Maroons entered the game against the Lady Eagles with so much anticipation but instead of reaching the top, they floundered down to the lower half of the league.ADVERTISEMENT
By Utamu BelleThe deplorable state of a recently constructed road at the entrance to Wisroc, Wismar, Linden, Region10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice) formed part of the discussions during the statutory Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting held last Thursday.During the discussions, Councillor Gordon Callender stressed his frustration over the recently rehabilitated road that was undertaken by the previous Council.One of the deplorable roads in LindenHe stressed that the newly built asphalted road, which is one of the main thoroughfares in the community, presently contains large potholes and was also an issue talked about at the previous Council.The Councillor contended that the road needs urgent intervention given its present deplorable state.“We road only do the other day…it’s a short period of time. The REO who is the Clerk of Council…traverse that road two, three times per day and I want to know if the REO ain’t see those holes that opened in that newly built road…money spending on that piece of road over and over…and you can’t be spending money over and over on the same piece of road”, Callender iterated.He suggested that the road be urgently repaired using “hot mix”, indicating that it was not a chip seal road which was constructed.In response, Regional Chairman Renis Morian said nearly all of the roads in the Region are problematic and blamed the recent rainy weather for road works not being carried out in a timely manner. He nevertheless stated that works are currently ongoing at places like Obama Drive, Amelia’s Ward, Mackenzie, and Linden.“You got more than thirty examples of that (those type of roads) in Region 10. What we’ve asked contractors to do is mobilise in the weather because we don’t normally do road works in the weather and contractors have mobilised to do road works. And trust me we won’t even do quarter of the roads that need to be done in 2016 because nearly all the roads in Region 10 have problems. But I can assure you that road works are being done all over Region 10”, the chairman said.Meanwhile, residents have also expressed dissatisfaction with the deplorable state of numerous roads in the Linden community. In some instances, they have related that attention has not been placed on these roads for years and that has led to serious deterioration.
Volunteers with the Lough Swilly RNLI were successful in assisting two vessels in difficulty on two separate call-outs on Wednesday.The lifeboat was first launched at 3.59pm in the afternoon after receiving a call about a broken down speedboat. The crew travelled to the scene just off Buncrana pier to assist.It wasn’t long until the crew were out again. At 9.35pmm last night the alarm was raised about an upturned dingy located north off Northwest golf links. The lifeboat was again tasked to the area and worked to tow the vessel back to Rathmullan Pier.There were no casualties reported, with both incidents having a successful outcome.Success for Lough Swilly RNLI in two call-outs was last modified: August 15th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Lough Swilly RNLI
Wilma den HartighThe Amatola Wild Trout Fishery providesthe community with an income, and brings visitors to the area.(Image: Amatola Wild Trout Fishery) Claire Reid with her garden on a reel. (Image: Reel Gardening) MEDIA CONTACTS • Constance HybsierSEED Awards programme manager+27 21 808 3374 or +27 83 709 6482 RELATED ARTICLES • Fog project boosts water supply • SA marks Year of Biodiversity • SA store shows new way to farm • Farming in the heart of Joburg• Tapping into ingenuitySix South African entrepreneurs and development organisations have received international recognition for their contribution to building a viable green economy.The SEED Initiative, a UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) project, has rewarded six South African businesses and development projects, that have proved they’re paying more than just lip service to sustainable development and social and economic upliftment, in its 2010 awards programme.The SEED Initiative is a global network that identifies projects and businesses that have innovative, entrepreneurial approaches to sustainable development.It was founded in 2002 by UNEP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to realise the objectives of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Development Goals.The SEED Initiative will host an awards ceremony for all the winners, in their home countries. The programme does not offer a money prize, but gives each winner access to business services as well as the opportunity to network and build relationships with new partners. The international exposure and publicity is priceless.Winners also receive business support, based on the specific needs of each project. This includes access to technical expertise and knowledge, finding new sources of finance and the development of business plans.Visit the SEED website for a full list of the 2010 winners.Highlighting African innovationThis year, the organisation’s awards programme emphasised initiatives from South Africa, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Rwanda and Senegal, as well as Sri Lanka, Colombia and China.This focus was part of a larger project connected to UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and was funded mainly by the European Union.The 2010 Seed Awards received applications from about 60 countries, and overall, there were 30 global winners.The South African winners are: the IziWasha hand-held laundry device; the Zondi BuyBack Initiative; Amatola Wild Trout Fishery; Food & Trees for Africa; Claire Reid Reel Gardening; and Mooi River Waste Reclaiming.UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement that the winners “exemplify the strong spirit of entrepreneurship in the developing world and its significance in creating a green economy”.The entries ranged from combined efforts of non-governmental organisations, women’s and youth groups, to labour organisations, public authorities, international agencies and academia.The majority of entries were in the agriculture and rural development sector. However, there was a strong focus on projects dealing with climate change and energy, the conservation of biodiversity, and waste management. A panel of independent international experts selected the winners.Pride of the country The South African winners were selected from a large variety of entrants, but what they all have in common are business models that prioritise improved livelihoods, address poverty and marginalisation, and focus on sustainable natural resources management.IziWashaThe IziWasha hand-held clothes washing device was developed by a South African engineer for people who live in low-income communities and are unable to afford automatic washing machines.“The IziWasha is filling a need that has been ignored and many companies have not seen this as a priority market,” says Rebecca Harrison, CEO of IziWasha Ltd.The device is made from plastic, is fully portable and doesn’t require any running water or electricity to work. Harrison says that the product can make a major difference to the lives of women who have large families and spend many hours washing clothes by hand.“It is physically demanding and time consuming to hand wash clothes. Women also often complain of backache,” she says.The IziWasha is also good for the environment, as a user will no longer have to wash their clothes in rivers. This will reduce water pollution and increase river water quality. The appliance comes with easy to understand operating instructions and guidelines to safely dispose of washing water.“We’ve done some market research in communities and the response to the product has been very positive. People see a lot of value in it,” says Harrison.IziWasha is planning to launch the product to the general market in the second quarter of 2011.Reel Gardening Claire Reid, the brain behind Reel Gardening, never thought that a school science project would turn into a viable business concept. “I realised that cultivating a vegetable garden is time consuming, and it is expensive to buy fertiliser and seed – just to find that the seeds don’t germinate,” Reid says.She developed pre-fertilised seed strips that contain seeds and all the other ingredients needed to plant vegetables. Besides watering, minimal input is needed. The strips carry all the instructions to grow vegetables successfully. The correct depth at which the seeds should be planted is indicated with a coloured line and the seeds are even placed at the correct distance apart from one another inside the strips. The fertiliser soaks up the water and forms a gel, ensuring that the seeds remain moist and germination is more successful, while the paper casing prevents birds from eating the seeds out of the soil. Once the biodegradable paper capsule has served its purpose, it will decompose and become compost for the soil.Each strip is also colour coded for easy identification of vegetables: for example, tomato is red and beetroot is purple. The paper strip is 3.5cm wide and is purchased in metre lengths.The seed strips come with instructions in English, Afrikaans, isiZulu, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana and isiXhosa. Visual instructions are also printed. The instructions are easy to understand and the product is suitable for any age, from young children to the elderly. “Children love it because the strips are so colourful,” she says.She hopes that the product will encourage more South Africans, including schools, clinics, community centres, churches and rural communities, to cultivate their own food gardens. In doing this, everyone will have a constant source of nutritious vegetables.“You also don’t need large areas of land – if you live in the city, a small patio garden or balcony is all you need,” she says.The manufacturing hub for the seed strips is based in Illovo in Johannesburg and Reid works with 12 previously unemployed moms, who hand package each seed strip. At the moment 10 vegetables are packaged, but in the future she wants to expand the product line to include flowers and herbs.Even before the SEED award, her invention attracted much attention. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry nominated the reel gardening product for the South African Junior Water Prize as it reduces water wastage by 80%. Reid went on to win this prize, and also scooped the Woman of the Year Award in the Water for Scientific Research “below the age of 35” category. She was nominated for the Shoprite Checkers Woman of the Year in Science and Technology, where she came in the top three.Amatola Wild Trout FisheryThe Amatola Wild Trout Fishery is South Africa’s first recreational fly fishery owned, managed and operated by a local community. It is also the only business in the Eastern Cape to receive a 2010 SEED Award.It didn’t take long for Amatola to get noticed. Members of the Cata Village, the Border Rural Committee (BRC) and experts from the Rhodes University Department of Ichthyology and Fisheries Science (DIFS) started working on the project only about a year ago.Ashley Westaway, a BRC fieldworker, says that when the idea for the project first came about, recreational fishing and tourism were identified as two sectors with potential in the area. “The Northern Keiskammahoek area, where the project is located, has a good river and dam network,” Westaway says.The Rhodes University DIFS conducted feasibility studies and the findings were positive. Westaway says that the project’s sustainable model for eco-friendly community upliftment put it in the running for a SEED award. “It strikes a good balance between the environment, social and economic elements. The project is strong in all the components that the judges were looking for.”He anticipates that the fishery will become a well-known tourism destination for recreational fly-fisherman. “The trout we have here is wild and for fisherman, this is very attractive as it gives them more credit in fishing circles,” he says. The area is home to both brown and rainbow trout, which is also a drawcard for fisherman.Qurban Rouhani, DIFS programme manager, says rainbow and brown trout were not indigenous to South Africa, but both species were successfully introduced to the Cata area in the early 1900s. The area has major fishing potential, but it was never developed after the area was expropriated for inclusion in the former Ciskei homeland.The project will run a strict “catch-and-release” system, instead of restocking fish from time to time. Although trout in this area have well-established breeding populations, this policy will help protect indigenous fish species such as the endangered border barb.“The area has so much to offer and the terrain is absolutely magnificent with indigenous forests and a variety of bird life,” Westaway says.Onsite accommodation chalets are also available and have been operational since 2008. As more people visit the area, marginalised communities in the Keiskammahoek area can benefit from much-needed skills training and job creation. “We hope that the market will respond, as there are many perceptions out there about safety in former homeland areas,” he says.He says the fishery project has also invested in human capacity building and training. The fishery has created many jobs for people in the community to clear invasive alien vegetation on the banks of the Mnyameni Dam and Cata River.Other local winnersFood & Trees for Africa (FTFA) is making a positive difference by placing issues such as climate change, greening of urban areas, sustainable resource management and food security under the spotlight. FTFA has, with the support of funders and the endorsement of the government, established many thriving projects such as skills training in natural resource management and the development of organic permaculture gardens for impoverished communities.FTFA has also developed South Africa’s first carbon calculator. The organisation hopes that this tool will help individuals and companies calculate their carbon footprint, and be more aware of their impact on the environment.The Resentse Sinqobile Trust, trading as the Zondi BuyBack Initiative, established a successful buyback centre, which recycles and repurposes household waste such as cans and plastic into products that can be sold. This initiative has helped to reduce litter, provide more employment opportunities and run an educational program.The Mooi River Waste Reclaiming project in the Midlands in KwaZulu-Natal provides an opportunity for previously unemployed people to work as waste pickers and earn an income from recycling waste.Co-founder Eddie Griffiths says the surrounding communities have rallied to support the project. Farmers in the area, who in the past always buried their waste products, now support the project by delivering their waste for recycling to the landfill site where the project is based.
6 December 2011Brand South Africa and the Financial Times hosted a roundtable discussion at COP 17 on the weekend, highlighting the importance of working towards a green economy by setting emission reduction targets with strong implementation plans.Under the theme of “Opportunities and challenges of the Green Economy”, the event comprised a panel discussion between government and business leaders, including Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa, City of Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau, Eskom’s executive director of resources and strategy Dr Steve Lennon and CEO of the Chamber of Mines Bheki Sibiya.The panel was chaired by Andrew England, Southern Africa bureau chief of the Financial Times.The discussion was attended by various stakeholders from business, academia, government and civil society.Complex balancing actAt the heart of the COP 17 negotiations are drastic changes in projected and real climate patterns and the increasing levels of carbon emissions which cause it.Reducing these emissions is a key component of worldwide strategies to combat climate change. Broadly termed “greening the economy”, reduction efforts are characterised by governments trying to balance the needs of their economies, people and the health of the planet – far from a straightforward business.Minister Molewa opened the event with a keynote speech highlighting the importance of working towards a green economy by setting emission reduction targets with strong implementation plans.This is directly in line with the National Green Economy Accord that was signed in Pretoria recently. The accord focuses on the move to a low-carbon economy, while creating substantial employment within this transformation.Figures around the 300 000 mark have been mentioned in terms of job creation, linked to a time frame of 10 years to make this a reality.During the discussions England posed a question around the feasibility of the targets set in the accord.South Africa is aiming for a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. Fourteen years to reduce carbon emission by almost half the current levels, without compromising on employment rates and economic profit, is a tall order – further compounded by the fact that 90% of the country’s energy today comes from coal.Molewa stressed that while targets were high, they were based on sound study. “We will be getting into sustainable development that talks to our people, our economy and takes care of our environment,” she said.Cleaner coal and more renewable energyDr Lennon of state power utility Eskom was quick to defend government strategy in utilising a variety of energy production methods in its steps of transformation, and insisted that coal burning is not prioritised over other methods of energy production.While the government is investing heavily in wind and solar energy, with a resultant expansion in job numbers in these sectors, Lennon pointed out that Eskom is also investing in technology to produce more efficient and cleaner coal-based energy. Additionally, 20 000 new jobs will be created when the Medupi Power Station in Limpopo province comes online in 2012.Employment and the expansion of the job market is heavily linked to the greening of the economy, and in countries like South Africa – currently battling an unemployment rate of about 25% – it’s highly necessary that the government’s ambitious planning pays off, without compromising on the environment.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
This post was written by Kimberly Quinn, University of Florida M.Ed./Ed.S. Candidate, 1LT Florida Army National Guard. She is a member of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. [Flickr, Portfolio of Susanna Avery-Lynch by Susanna Avery-Lych, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015In previous posts we’ve discussed the benefits of father involvement for both fathers and their children. This week’s featured resource is the National Fatherhood Initiative website which aims to equip fathers with education and resources needed to engage in their children’s’ lives. The website includes information specific to military fathers making it a resource that professionals working with military families can use to equip families at any point in their military life cycle. In its aim to:“…improve well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers…” The National Fatherhood Initiative website houses Quality Resources, Professional Technical Assistance, and Trainings and Workshops for military personnel as well as resources for professionals serving them. Topics in the training program range from becoming a new father to preparing for deployment with young children. In 2010, the National Fatherhood Initiative equipped over 40 National Guard sites with fatherhood resources. They have also distributed pamphlets and information kiosks to active installations across the country.
From Jurassic Park to Dietland, the films that producer Bonnie Curtis has worked on have yielded valuable lessons. We talk about what she’s learned.Cover image via AMC.Not every small-town Texas girl can go to Hollywood and make it big, but producer Bonnie Curtis shows us that with curiosity and tenacity, and by surrounding yourself with people you love, your odds can get a whole lot better.Bonnie Curtis.PremiumBeat: Everyone has a unique origin story, so I understand you can’t offer a step-by-step guide on how to be successful in Hollywood, but huge people in this industry such as Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, and Glenn Close have put their trust and faith in you. Can you identify any qualities you have or actions you took that were valued and rewarded?Bonnie Curtis: I think a strong work ethic and personal confidence . . . and a bit of common sense . . . helped me immensely. Always doing something instead of waiting to be told to do it . . . not being afraid to be wrong. Most of the work “moments” in my life that I credit with being turning points for me were usually because of luck, a decision someone else made . . . and just being there in that moment, working hard. And attitude — that’s a biggie. Tackling the sublime to the ridiculous with a smile on one’s face.Jurassic Park (image via Universal Pictures).PB: You’ve been involved in huge studio productions (Schindler’s List, Minority Report, Jurassic Park) and intimate, independent films (Albert Nobbs, The Chumscrubber). How does the role of producer change when the scope of the production is different?BC: The role of the producer is a bit different on every project . . . but the basic elements remain the same whether the budget is large or small. Script, budget, schedule . . . casting . . . crewing. On a studio project, there is a political element that independent film more often does not experience. You have to spend quite a bit of your time communicating with the Studio about every element of your film on a studio production. And there is an approval process tied to that. Independent film is exactly that — independent of those approvals. With independent film, the stress comes from the financing. It is a challenge particularly in the world of Netflix, to get the equity to make an independent film.To The Bone (image via Netflix).PB: The films you worked on with Spielberg were of one sensibility, but the projects you’ve independently produced have had very different subject matter and tone. What do you currently look for in a project when you are considering signing on to produce? Is it the material, the attachments, the logistics, or a combination of elements?BC: Absolutely varies from project to project . . . but I do always like to find my way in. Sometimes it’s the director. Sometimes it’s the actor. Sometimes it’s the subject matter. And currently it’s the franchise — the opportunity to bring Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) back to the big screen in a franchise that was formative to me as a young filmgoer — that made this current Terminator film we are doing worthwhile. We also love the company that is co-financing the endeavor — Skydance Media. Passionate and very good people who love movies.PB: In life, we form relationships that feed our soul — I’ve noticed that your creative soul is also led by meaningful relationships. You’ve partnered with producer Julie Lynn, actor Glenn Close, and currently with Marti Noxon on the Netflix film To the Bone and AMC’s Dietland. How important is building a creative partnership, and why do you think you formed bonds with these particular artists?BC: I love artists. And I love artists who are trying to say something. I also love good people. And those three you have listed above are three of the most incredible human beings I have ever met. They have their feet on the ground. They love their children. They love art. They love walking around a city and discovering things. And they love me . . . that helps too!The Chumscrubber (image via Go Fish Pictures).PB: Arie Posen was a first-time feature director when you worked with him. From a producer’s perspective, what gave you the confidence to take a chance on him, and what did you see during the two films you produced of his in terms of a learning curve that other first-time directors should adopt? Any newbie mistakes that are common?BC: I loved Arie’s script, The Chumscrubber. And I loved his short film “Over My Dead Body.” Arie had something to say, and he knew how to move the camera. He is also a cinephile . . . he considers the art of making film an art. He loves seeing a perfect movie. And his work ethic is staggering. I love working with Arie. We have a TV show we are about to sell . . . can’t wait. As for mistakes — there are no mistakes. Making a film is messy . . . and you learn a lot in hindsight. But the the messy collaboration is what makes the art form incredibly unique. “Mistakes” can become the most beautiful part if you lean into them and don’t fight them.Dietland (image via AMC).PB: Dietland incorporates animation sequences, and clearly there is a colorful visual esthetic — how much influence as a producer do you have with the choices made by the director and/or DP?BC: I was deeply involved with Marti on the animation and visual effects aspect of Dietland. Simply because I have quite a bit of experience in this area. So I raised my hand. Marti’s brain is an absolute wonderland . . . and getting what she was seeing out of her head and onto the screen — that was our task. Our visual effects supervisor, Ivy Agregan, and the animation team at Six Point Harness made all our dreams come true. Once we got in a rhythm, it just rolled and rolled and rolled, and Marti got to play and play and play. I love the animation in the series.As for the looks outside of that animation . . . I left that to Marti and our amazing DP Alison Kelly. We all loved the footage at every turn . . . so there was no need to step in at any point.The Face of Love (image via IFC Films).PB: You filmed The Face of Love and To the Bone with the ARRI Alexa. Was that a filmmaker or producer choice, and how have these new cameras made the process easier both financially and artistically?BC: The Alexa was a game changer . . . but that seems like centuries ago now! Digital is all we’ve been shooting on for many, many movies. It would be fun to make one on film again. It makes zero difference to me . . . you just have to decide in enough time to plan properly. Budget properly. It’s all in the planning — the war is won in prep.Albert Nobbs (image via Lionsgate).PB: When a young filmmaker moves to L.A., they often are going to have to get a “day job” to pay the bills while they try to set up their own creative projects. What kind of job would you advise that would help them grow both creatively and professionally?BC: I always tell folks to just get their foot in the door somewhere. Take a temp job answering phones. My take on it is the real jobs in this business happen at a moment’s notice, and if you are on-site, you will more than likely get the gig. Do anything . . . get people’s lunch, pick up their laundry . . . and add your own flare to that endeavor . . . make it the best dang lunch they have ever had . . . make them remember you.Looking or more industry interviews? Check these out.Interview: Keeping Score with Film and Television Composer Nathan BarrInterview: The Film Collaborative on Filmmaking Rights and DistributionInterview: The Editor of “This is America” on Building the Iconic VideoSet Your Film Right: On Location with Robert FoulkesAn Interview with Andrew Shulkind, DP of Netflix Original film The Ritual