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James Cameron says ‘Avatar 2′ will be much cheaper than first movie

October 31, 2014 Diaspora, Film, Video No Comments
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The “Avatar” sequels aren’t going to be as insanely expensive as the first movie, which cost over $240 million, according to director James Cameron.
The three sequels – set to be released in the December’s of 2016, 2017 and 2018 – are being shot simultaneously, saving costs thanks to the “economies of scale,” Cameron said at a Wall Street Journal Conference on Wednesday, Design & Trends reports, citing the Hollywood Reporter.
“We’ll literally capture the actors all at the same time, we’ll do all the live photography all at the same time, it’s sort of like we’re shooting a miniseries,” Cameron explained. “So, theoretically, that’s a good way to damp the costs down hopefully well below what the first film cost.”
It’s easy to shoot everything at once when everything is computer generated, Cameron said, adding that their CGI system is even more advanced now than it was for the first film.
“The thing that’s still astonishing to me is how well our prototype system did work,” he said. “But it was not user-friendly at all and it was a lot of unnecessary hard work, and we just always kept consoling ourselves while we were making the film that we’ll fix it for the sequel.”
“Interestingly, the term ‘filming’ is so obsolete in almost every regard because we do some image capture where there’s actual photography, but it’s done entirely on digital cameras,” Cameron continued. “And that only represents a small part, maybe 20 to 25 percent, of the total film. The rest is completely synthetically generated.”
When asked about the new head-mounted gaming system Oculus Rift, which is being heralded as the next “big thing” in the virtual reality world, Cameron was surprisingly dismissive, saying, “There seems to be a lot of excitement around something that, to me, is a yawn, frankly… What will the level of interactivity with the user be other than just ‘I can stand and look around. If you want to move through a virtual reality it’s called a video game, it’s been around forever.” 

Every day this nice old man is visited by a wild hummingbird

October 26, 2014 Diaspora, Film, Video No Comments
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Every day, 83-year-old Joao Silvestrini has the most unusual visitor – a hummingbird! It flies in and out of the kitchen window of his Brazil home several times a day, stopping for a chirpy chat and a drink of sugar water, odditycentral.com reports.The story of the unusual friendship between man and bird has become popular on Facebook, after Joao filmed the bird and posted the video online, last month. The footage shows the tiny bird flying around Joao’s head and waiting patiently until he offers it the daily dose of sugar sweetened water.Joao is a bachelor and a retired ornithologist; he wakes up at 5.30 every morning to open the kitchen window and wait for his little friend. Before long, the bird arrives in search of water and continues the routine several times during the day. “When he wants water, he is flying around me, he will not let me use the computer,” Joao laughed.“I like animals and always put sugar water for the hummingbirds in the backyard, but this one is shameless,” he added. “I talk to him, try to get closer, but he does not care for me. In fact, he only cares about drinking water.”Joao said that he isn’t surprised by this unusual behavior, because the bird seems to have become accustomed to human presence since it was very young. He also explained that hummingbirds are quite territorial, so if another one tries to drink from its special bird feeder, it will result in a fight.Ever since he uploaded the video, Joao has been getting several likes and friend requests on Facebook. “I cannot evaluate all the requests,” he said. “I just close my eyes and accept.” He is quite amazed at all the positive response – he explained that he only meant to share it with his friends and relatives, and he did not expect to become famous because of it.As much as he enjoys the hummingbird’s companionship, Joao knows that it will be short-lived. He realises that as the bird grows, it will become more independent and seek food from other sources. “It is already growing, it is almost an adult and will eventually leave. That’s life,” he said. 

Keira Knightley to make Broadway stage debut

October 24, 2014 Diaspora, Film No Comments
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British actress Keira Knightley is to make her Broadway debut next year in a stage version of a famous French novel, the BBC reports.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star will play the title role in Therese Raquin, based on Emile Zola’s 1867 classic.
Described as “a tale of love, lust, betrayal, and guilt,” the play will cast her as a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage who has an affair with one of her husband’s friends.
The Roundabout Theatre Company show opens in October 2015 in New York.
Knightley, who turns 30 next year, previously trod the boards in London in The Misanthrope and The Children’s Hour.
The actress has two films out next month in the UK – World War Two drama The Imitation Game and US comedy Say When.
Therese Raquin has been staged and filmed many times, most recently as the film In Secret starring Elizabeth Olsen.
The new version is by British playwright Helen Edmundson, who previously adapted the Tolstoy novels Anna Karenina and War and Peace for the stage.
Knightley appeared in a 2012 film of Anna Karenina and has also appeared in film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Ian McEwan’s Atonement.
Therese Raquin begins previews on 1 October and has its opening night on 29 October at a Broadway theatre yet to be announced.
Earlier this year Knightley revealed she had hoped to take The Children’s Hour to Broadway but could not work out the scheduling with co-star Elisabeth Moss.
“We tried to make it happen, but our scheduling didn’t work out,” she told The Advocate. “It was a real shame, because it would be great doing it on Broadway.”

Impressions of Armenia – The Moscow Times (photo set)

October 18, 2014 Armenia, Arts, Diaspora, Europe, Film, Music No Comments
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A photo set published by The Moscow Times has fixed episodes featuring recent developments in Armenia.
The pictures, taken in different parts of the country, are presented below:

A police officer walks along central Yerevan’s Victory Bridge — named after the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany — that crosses the Armenian capital Yerevan’s Hrazdan River.

A young man shows his support for Armenia’s national football team in central Yerevan before a European Championship qualifying match against Serbia.
A musician looks out the window of a bus carrying the members of a brass band to their next destination.

Young boys gratefully drink from the water fountains on Yerevan’s central Republic Square.A woman is seen preparing dolmas (stuffed cabbage rolls)
Khorovats (the Armenian word for barbecue ) prepared on large skewers for meat, vegetable and even fruit dishes

Armenia’s Entry into Eurasian Union: Price Rises in Sugar, Medicines, Cars and Even Toilet Paper !

October 14, 2014 Armenia, Asia, Film No Comments
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11:43, October 14, 2014

The following five minute film (in Armenian), prepared by the Union of Informed Citizens, argues that some 7,000 items will increase in price, sooner or later, due to Armenia’s entry into the Eurasian Economic Union.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan signed the agreement in Belarus on October 10.

Sizeable price increased will occur in medicine imports, sugar, poultry and automobiles. Even toilet paper will see a price hike.

Source: HetqOriginial Article

Robert Redford to receive New York career honor

October 12, 2014 Armenia, Diaspora, Film No Comments
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Hollywood actor and director Robert Redford is to receive a lifetime achievement award from New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Centre, the BBC reports.The 77-year-old’s career highlights will be celebrated at a gala in the city next April.The society, which organizes the annual New York Film Festival, said that Redford’s “impact is hard to measure in many ways”.Recent Chaplin Award recipients include Barbra Streisand and Nicole Kidman.The honor is given to the movie industry’s most notable talents, and has also lauded Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, after whom the award is named.He was the first recipient in 1972, while last year’s winner was director Rob Reiner.Lesli Klainberg, the film society’s executive director, said that Redford’s contribution as an actor has been significant, but also pinpointed his work as founder of the Sundance Film Festival.”Without the Sundance Institute and Sundance Film Festival, we’d likely have a different industry. And they continue to have a huge impact,” she said.”Obviously he’s a star that many of us have grown up watching from his films in the early ’60s to his current work.”I happen to think he’s also had some of the greatest co-stars ever, from Natalie Wood to Faye Dunaway, Barbra Streisand, and, of course, his great bromance with Paul Newman,” added Ms Klainberg.Redford starred in All is Lost in 2013, which was shown at the New York Film Festival. His performance was greeted with a standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival premiere last year. 

Igniting Entrepreneurship in Unexpected Places: An Interview With Sara Anjargolian of Impact Hub Yerevan

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16:16, October 8, 2014

Originally printed in the Huffington Post on October 7, 2014

About a year ago, I found myself sitting in the least desirable seat on the plane – the middle of the middle on a massive airliner directly in front of the restroom. On my left was a man in a grey undershirt, understated in appearance. Meanwhile his posture was one of dignity and pride. As I took in the scene, other travelers on the airplane walked down the aisle, pausing to stare at the man next to me, continuing on their walk, and then turning around to stare again. After two or three passengers stopped to stare, I couldn’t help but ask, “Who are you?”

London film festival to feature Parajanov’s ‘Color of Pomegranates’

October 8, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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A digitally restored version of Russian-Armenian film director Sergei Parajanov’s 1969 “cinematic Holy Grail” is set to dazzle the London film festival 2014 this week, according to The Guardian.
When Martin Scorsese introduced his Film Foundation’s newly restored version of “The Colour of Pomegranates” at the Toronto film festival in September he told the expectant audience they were going to witness images and visions “pretty much unlike anything in cinema history”.
The 1969 film, voted 84th best of all-time in the most recent Sight & Sound magazine greatest movies poll, only gained a belated official release in western cinemas in 1982, but even the cinephiles and critics who have lauded the film with such extravagant praise since should now prepare to see Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece afresh.
The digital restoration, completed in conjunction with Cineteca di Bologna, comes as close as possible to the director’s original vision and it is this version, described by critic and Toronto festival programmer James Quandt as “a cinematic Holy Grail”, which will screen at the London film festival in October.
Read more on The Guardian website. 

Spain: Madrid police use batons against anti-monarchy protesters

October 5, 2014 Armenia, Film No Comments
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A small anti-monarchy demonstration involving around 200 people in Madrid might otherwise have gone unnoticed, euronews reports.
But scuffles between protesters and police might raise some questions about the somewhat heavy-handed tactics of the forces of law and order.
Riot squad officers were filmed using batons to beat protesters who were armed with no more than banners.
Tensions rose when demonstrators tried to march through a street blocked by riot police.
A number of people were reported to have been injured, with a handful arrested.
Spain has several anti-monarchy movements. Demonstrations were held in many cities calling for the institution to be abolished following the abdication of King Juan Carlos. Felipe VI was sworn in as his successor in June.
An opinion poll for El Pais newspaper carried out in the same month found 62 percent of Spaniards support a referendum on the country’s form of government.

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Featured Books

Book Reviews

John Balian’s “Novel Approach” Brings the Armenian Saga to the Masses – An interview with John Balian by Lucine Kasbarian

Gray Wolves and White Doves cover art

Armenians often wish for a tale about the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath that would make a blockbuster film and draw attention to their cause. John Balian’s new book, Gray Wolves and White Doves (CreateSpace/Amazon.com), may be that tale.

 Largely autobiographical, this atmospheric novel is presented through the eyes of an innocent young boy trying to make sense of the world as he grows up amid repressive conditions in Western Armenia/Eastern Turkey during the 1960s and 70s.

 This fast-paced, multi-layered narrative takes readers from Hanna Ibelin’s (a.k.a. Jonah Ibelinian’s) close-knit family life in the perilous Asia Minor region of Palu to terror and tragedy while en route to Syria’s Kamishli, to a bleak existence on the mean streets of Istanbul.

New Children’s Picture Book From Armenian Folklore

Teaneck, N.J. and Belmont, Mass. –  An Armenian folktale retold by Armenian-American writer Lucine Kasbarian and illustrated by Moscow-based artist Maria Zaikina debuts with Marshall Cavendish Children’s Publishers in April 2011.

The Greedy Sparrow: An Armenian Tale is from the ancient Armenian oral tradition and culture, which was nearly obliterated during the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in 1915. The author learned the tale from her father, editor and columnist C.K. Garabed, who would recite it to her at bedtime. He had learned it from his own grandmother, a celebrated storyteller from the Old Country.  The tale was first put to paper by Armenian poet Hovhannes Toumanian at the turn of the 20th century.

“We Need To Lift The Armenian Taboo”

Turkish writer and publicist Ahmet Insel labels the initiative of the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party to pray namaz on the ruins of Ani as provocation.

In an interview with “A1+,” the publicist said the initiative was supported only by a small percentage of Turks.

“They offered namaz in Ani in protest against Christian rites carried out in Trabzon and Akhtamar. The leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahceli said if Christians are allowed to pray inside museums, similarly he can pray namaz in Armenian churches,” said Ahmet Insel.

The Turkish writer arrived in Armenia to participate in a book festival. Presentation of Armenian version of Dialogue sur le tabou arménien (Dialogue about the Armenian Tabou) co-authored by Ahmet Insel and Michel Marian was held during the festival.

US Media Discusses The Armenian Genocide

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA –  KFI 640, a popular news/talk radio station hosted by Bill Handel on September 23 aired a live interview with Michael Bobelian, the writer of a new book titled  Children of Armenia: A Forgotten Genocide and the Century-long Struggle for Justice

The book chronicles the aftermath of the Armenian Genocide of 1915, and recounts a people’s struggle for justice in the face of a century of silence and denial.

During the interview, which was aired during the prime morning time slot, Bill Handel addressed both the efforts within the United States to ensure that the US government appropriately acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Turkey’s ongoing denial.

Handel, a well known and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, has discussed the Armenian Genocide during past shows.

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Commentary

Yerevan Calling: A Weekly Roundup of Random Musings from Armenia

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13:05, October 3, 2014

Here it is dear readers, the debut of a weekly column I hope to maintain on a regular basis.

It’s sort of a catch-all of news snippets, irreverent commentary, and personal observations on what’s happened during the week here in Yerevan, and throughout Armenia.. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting, if not slightly diverting.

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed.

Regards – Hrant

Oct. 2 – Protests Throughout Armenia: A Game of Numbers & Solidarity

Three separate protest rallies took place in Armenia today.

As Hetq reported earlier, business owners in the town of Sevan kept their stores and factories shut to protest changes to the so-called volume (sales) tax. Local residents flocked to the bread factory to wait on line for a loaf or two.

China: President Takes Action Against High Ranking Corrupt Officials

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21:31, July 30, 2014

Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s most powerful former leaders, is under investigation in the highest-level corruption inquiry since the Communist Party came into power in 1949.

Under current president Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Zhou for “serious disciplinary violations,” as the officialXinhua news agency reports. Media has not yet, however, specified the allegations against him.

The probe is an attempt to show the length to which Xi and the party will go in order to combat abuse of power reportsThe Wall Street Journal. 

A commentary published in the officialPeoples Daily makes the point that regardless of  an official’s rank or supporters, punishment will result for violating laws or the party’s discipline. 

Armenian Gangs: Caught between an Archetype and a Cliché

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19:15, July 12, 2014

By Marineh Khachadour

“The whole thing started with a scene straight out of a mobster movie. It was around 6 p.m. when more than a dozen men from two organized crime groups opened fire on each other in a North Hollywood parking lot. Witnesses say nearly everyone was armed, and the shootout quickly went mobile. The men took off in cars, exchanging fire as they weaved through the Whitsett Avenue traffic.”

Stories such as this are not unique to Armenians in the American press, but this investigative report recently published in the LA Weekly is about Armenian Power, the Los Angeles based Armenian gang that operates in the heavily Armenian populated communities of Glendale, Burbank, and North Hollywood.

Want to Write for Hetq?

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10:24, March 14, 2014

I’m looking for freelancers who can broaden the scope of Hetq’s English edition

Arts & Culture, Commentary, Politics, Civil Society, Interviews…

Anything interesting happening in your local community you’d like to share?

Write to me with your ideas and story suggestions.

Hrant at hg.hetq@gmail.com

Source: HetqOriginial Article

For Better or For Worse: Nature Protection Ministry Proposes Amendments to Water Use Laws

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16:44, February 14, 2014

With the goal of providing a systematic solution to issues of effective use of water resources in Ararat valley, the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia (RA) is proposing amendments and additions to the RA Water Code, and the RA laws on the Republic of Armenia’s National Water Program, on Licensing, and on State Tax.

The proposed legislative package has been sent to the relevant state agencies for their input.

Head of the Ministry of Nature Protection’s Water Resources Management Agency Volodya Narimanyan told Hetq, said that with this amendment package his ministry is attempting to clarify the ideas and the ambiguous commentary, as well as introduce new requirements. For example, one of the main points of the proposed amendments is if water use permit conditions are not met, the water use permit might be annulled.