Sunday, February 20, 2011

Free Film Screening: Mars Needs Moms

Wednesday, February 23rd at 7:30pm
AMC Burbank 16
125 E. Palm Ave. in Burbank, CA 91502

Please arrive early. Seating is first come, first seated. No one will be admitted late.
The screening may be overbooked and seating is not guaranteed. Disney, Theatre
and promoter are not responsible for overbooking. We may refuse, revoke or limit
admission in our sole discretion at any time. This ticket may be used for admission
only by the person to whom we issued it; it is not transferable. It has no cash value.
The screening will be monitored for recording devices. By attending, you agree not
to bring any recording device into the venue and you consent to physical search of
your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a
recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording
device, you consent to your immediate removal from the venue and forfeiture of the
device. Any attempted recording will be reported to law enforcement and may
subject you to criminal and civil liability. You assume all risks of personal injury
arising from or incidental to attending the screening, whether occurring prior to,
during, or after the event. Further, by attending you grant permission to Disney, its
affiliates and agents, to record and utilize your name, voice and likeness to publicize
the screening and promote the movie.


MARS NEEDS MOMS opens nationwide on March 11th
in Disney Digital 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D and is
rated PG for sci-fi action and peril.

Forward this e-mail to family and friends to attend this and other screenings by using the "Forward to friend" button on the bottom of this page. They can sign up for this e-mail newsletter and receive these free screening passes directly in the future.

The 7th annual Los Angeles Intnl Children's Film Festival happens in Fall/Winter 2011. Fantastic short films from around the world for children and teens. Free admission for everyone! More info at

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Deadline for Pomegranate Student Film Fest Extended to April 15th

I wanted to be sure that you know about our student film festival sponsored by the Pomegranate Foundation on the theme of genocide and holocaust awareness.

This student festival uses the month of April as inspiration (which has Holocaust memorial day, Rwandan and Armenian genocide commemoration days). The films do not need to be about genocide, as such. They can be about any form of intolerance -- including bullying, racism and discrimination.

We have recently visited Beverly HS, Grant HS, Olive Pierce (Ramona), Carson, Foundations Community School, and Hollywood HS to talk about this festival. We have emphasized to teachers and students that the subject does not have to be genocide/holocuast as such -- it can include bullying and any other form of discrimination. Students can team up, and there is a category for teacher submissions as well.

The deadline is April 15. Online submission only. Three minutes or less. Multiple formats. We will have a Finals Screening event (like LASMF) in May.

Our jury includes Bill Yahraus (USC Film School), Rocky Lang (producer of White Squall, directed by Ridley Scott), Marti Tippens Murphy (Facing History and Ourselves), and Professor Don Miller from USC, who is involved in various projects in Rwanda commemorating the genocide there.

We would be happy to visit your class to pitch the festival and discuss possible topics. Carla Garapedian is a working documentary filmmaker who has made a number of high-profile human rights films for British TV. Carla always like to meet students. Although she's based in London, she is in Encino for the next six months, working on her next feature film.

Our web-site for the competition:

Our Facebook page is!/pomegranatestudentfilmfest

See Ms. Harkins for an application.

Governance, Corruption, and Conflict 2010-2011 Contest

2010-2011 Awards Week in D.C.
June 19-24, 2010
This year, 1,100 students submitted entries to the National Peace Essay Contest while thousands more participated in related writing and other classroom exercises in high schools around the country.
Over the years, more than 1,400 state winners have participated in the Washington Awards Program. Many of these students have gone on to study foreign policy issues in college or have pursued careers in international affairs.
This year, the U.S. Institute of Peace's National Peace Essay Contest staff are organizing an exciting program for the state winners during their week in Washington. Activities will include:
A challenging three-day simulation
Meetings with knowledgeable speakers such as distinguished foreign policy scholars, practitioners, public officials in Congress, and foreign diplomats
Visits to historic national memorials and museums
An awards banquet to honor state winners and to announce national winners.

For more information please visit:

Entertainment Talent Management company looking for interns to read scripts & learn to script coverage.

Entertainment Talent Management company looking for interns to read scripts & learn to script coverage. School credit/unpaid internship, but will gain much insight and experience. You'll be reading theatrical scripts, writing coverage, and seeking undiscovered talent. Ideal candidates possess strong verbal/writing skills, an organized and efficient work manner, professionalism, and simply enjoy reading. We're very flexible with your time and create the schedule you need. Send resumes to

DISCLAIMER: If you are a high school student who is applying for an internship, please have your teacher/parent or guardian, check with the internship to see if they will take high school students!

Join the Writers Guild Foundation for its always-a-sell-out Anatomy of a Script Series featuring 6 scintillating evenings of screenings and in-depth d

Join the Writers Guild Foundation for its always-a-sell-out Anatomy of a Script Series featuring 6 scintillating evenings of screenings and in-depth discussions featuring top film and TV writers.

At the WGF/WGA offices, 7000 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Winnie Holzman (Wicked, My So-Called Life) and Robin Schiff (Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion) host some of the most successful and interesting writers working for film and television in this talk-show-styled series. The series features screenings of the guests' work, followed by a 2 hour talk-show-style in-depth interview focusing on the writer's creative process, with a refreshment intermission & free parking included.


Screenings: Begin at various times, see below
Interviews*: 7:30 - 10pm with refreshment break.

Tuesday February 22: Debra Granik on Winter’s Bone (screening at 5:15 pm)

Wednesday March 2: Glenn Gordon Caron on Medium (screening at 6:10 pm)

Wednesday March 9: Steve Levitan on Modern Family (screening at 6:30 pm)

March 16: John August on Big Fish (screening at 5:00 pm)

March 23: Marta Kauffman & David Crane on Friends (screening at 6:30 pm)

March 30: Mike Werb & Michael Colleary on Face/Off (screening at 4:45 pm)


$35 for a single class. $185 for the series of six. WGA members $165 (single class $30); Foundation donors, military veterans and full-time students $145 (single ticket $27). Special discounts for donors of $250 or more. Call 323 782 4692 for details.) Cost includes parking** and light refreshment break. No refund, No transfer.

Register at or 800 838 3006

*Note that the program is subject to change and all speakers appear subject to availability.

**Parking not guaranteed before 6:00 pm

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mass Media: Impact on the World Apparent and Indisputable

By: Ben Doupé

In a world where much is up to debate and speculation, one thing that stands as undeniable is the impact that the mass media (television, newspaper, internet, etc.) has had on the youth of countries around the world. Especially in the United States, the television, first introduced in 1928, has not only affected, but utterly shaped the lifestyles of younger audiences and has truly played a significant role in the developing virtues and ideals of children and teens growing up. No period of history serves as a better example of the media’s impact in the world than today’s ever-changing generation. The news industry alone continues to expand its influence, as people are able to see events taking place halfway around the world in detail, a concept that presents both good and bed consequences. For parents trying to shield their young children’s eyes from certain programming and certain images on TV, the struggle to do so is more difficult than ever. Especially for teens, the TV world has essentially become their reality. Reality shows that parents and the adult world as a whole believe only damage the young mind are now in an almost endless supply. Perhaps even more concerning than television for parents is the vast, dangerous, but at the same time sometimes beneficial invention known as the World Wide Web. The internet, essentially a combination of television, newspaper, and radio, has truly lived up to such a name, becoming the connecting tie of almost every square inch of the globe. Quite needless to say, the internet has had an uncontestable affect on the world’s youth. Beneficial to users in areas such as education and current international information but damaging and corrupting in others, the global connection of computers around the world, as well as other forms of media and communication, remains an unsettled and ever-debatable issue for parents, national governments, and even religions.

Game Review – Minecraft

Patrick Sullivan
A little over a month after its beta release, the initial Minecraft craze has continued to build steam; a perfect time for your intrepid gaming reporter to sit back and analyze the game for its merits. With purposefully low-quality visuals, sound, no endgame, and above all the fact that the game is still in active development, something about Minecraft’s gameplay makes it addicting enough to draw over one million sales without a retail store release or advertising – but what?
Minecraft began as the pet project of Swedish game developer Markus Persson of Mojang Specifications, Inc, more commonly known by his Internet alias Notch. Persson began development of Minecraft after leaving online game company with a simple concept: simulate a world that players could harvest resources from and build with. “I'm much more interested in making working interactive worlds than just pretty sets you walk around in,” says Persson. “I will work on other games on the side, to preserve my creative sanity, but it will be my primary focus for probably quite some time to come. Hopefully.”
The primary draw of Minecraft is its creative aspect – the ability of the player to build complex structures or furnish existing caves. Building materials take several forms: dirt, sand, stone, water, wood, various metal ores, and so on. While the player focuses on expanding their creations on the surface, they venture into procedurally generated caves to harvest these resources (“mining”), utilizing already-gathered materials to make the caves traversable and well-lit. It is quite literally possible to build everything conceivable; players have constructed simple houses, replicas of the starship Enterprise, and fully functional 16-bit computers (see picture)!
And what has Persson spent his sudden millions on? “A new hat,” he says with a smile. The feeling of instant wealth is “surreal,” he states in another interview. “You just walk around and all of a sudden you come to think of that – oh. I’m… rich.”
Minecraft is currently available for purchase online for €14.95 (about $20.00 USD). I urge anyone looking for a creative, outside-the-box game experience to pay a visit to and support Persson as he continues to develop the project.
Game Review – Minecraft


By: Jamie Coster

It’s almost that time of year again, where kids cut the pants off their jeans, lather up in sunscreen, and make their ways to Indio, California for the acclaimed Coachella Music and Arts Festival.
Coachella is renowned for it’s eclectic art exhibits as well as its wonderfully diverse lineup of musicians, pleasing all sorts of fans from Hip-Hop aficionados to indie rock veterans. Now, in its 12th year, the lineup is packed as ever featuring performances anyone will enjoy. Kanye West, 90’s dance-punk Death from Above 1979, and Kings of Leon all share the stage for this infamous weekend of music. Other notable acts include Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire, Duran Duran, The Strokes, and Mexican legends Caifanes. This year’s lineup has caused so much approval; it caused the festival to sell out within five days, a new record. With all of these amazing acts, this year’s Coachella will be one not worth missing.

Save Endangered Tigers

By: Sandra Milosevic

The tiger is one of the most powerful and majestic mammals in the world. This amazing animal, however, is standing on the brink of extinction. Tigers have been hunted by humans for many years. Even though the tiger has enemies in the form of elephants, bears and very large buffalos, humans are its worst enemies.
The tiger population has seriously declined in the past fifty years. Nepal only has two hundred tigers while India has four thousand, a serious decline compared to past years. Today, the tiger population is less than ten thousand.
Humans need to do something about this problem. Tigers are seriously endangered and humans are a large cause of this problem. In fact, humans are the tigers' largest predator. Humans need to open their eyes to the serious problem of tigers facing extinction. This powerful and majestic animal needs to be saved, not hunted.

Top 5 Chick Flicks

Anna Hovanesyan
Top 5 Chick Flicks
With Valentine’s Day headed our way, what can be better than watching sappy chick flicks? There have been many great romances that have hit the big screen these past years, but let’s take a look at the ones that were actually worthy enough to make the list for the official all time greatest flicks.
5. Gone with the Wind: Do I even need to explain why this made the countdown? Even though it is the oldest movie in our list, it sure is one of my favorites. Starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard, Olivia de Havilland, and many others, this film always seems to capture the hearts of movie lovers everywhere. The story line spanned the years of civil war and deals with the issues of unrequited love. This tremendous movie truly shows the meaning of how precious love actually is.
4. The Notebook: Noted as one of the greatest love stories of all times and originally written by Nicholas Sparks, the story follows an elderly couple as they look back on their own young love and all the challenges they faced. This movie, starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, portrays the power of love and its effect on this couples life. The flick shows that even crazy, childish love can actually bloom into true love in old age.
3. When Harry Met Sally: When Harry and Sally meet on a long car ride; they automatically become friends and a great connection sparks. Throughout the movie, both are in search of love and romance, yet face many hardships finding their soul mates. During the span of their lives, they always end up turning to each other in their time of need and always manage to help each other. The film shows the growth of their beautiful friendship and their fears of initiating an actual relationship.
2. (500) Days of Summer: Probably the most recent film in our countdown, it definitely deserves a spot on this list. Even though it’s not the typical romance movie, (500) Days of Summer, follows the relationship of a woman who doesn’t want a committed relationship and the struggles of a guy who desperately falls for her. This movie actually seems to portray the real consequences and struggles of love, and shows that love is never actually perfect. Besides having a wonderful cast and plot, the movie’s soundtrack is also worth coveting.
1. Titanic: No list can be complete without the Titanic. Released in 1997, this movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, shows how love transcends any societal class. The movie, based on historical events, follows the life of a wealthy, yet unhappy young lady, Rose, forced to marry the son of a steel tycoon. Rose, on her expedition to New York, gets to experience and see the true worth and meaning of life and love, when she meets artist, Jack. Undoubtedly, one of the most memorable and enjoyable love stories ever screened, the Titanic won a well deserved 11 academy awards.

The White Stipes Call It Quits

Kaitlin Gleason
The White Stipes Call It Quits
Blog Story
After a two-year hiatus, Jack and Meg White, perhaps better known as The White Stripes, have officially announced the splitting up of their band. The duo announced their break-up on their website early Tuesday.
After their 13- year run, it was not a fight or artistic differences that has split the two apart. Instead, Jack and Meg have decided to call it quits for the sake of the preservation and dignity of their music.
Their website has released an explanation.
“The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to,” the note reads. The split is allegedly “For a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.”
But does the note offer an acceptable or noble reason for this devastating split? Or is it simply a result of their boredom and restlessness with this musical project?
“I think what they wrote on their website is definitely a cover up. They’re just bored and they’re trying to cover it up. Why would you want to preserve the dignity of your music when you could keep progressing and continue on with a great thing?” asked Junior Chris Warden.
Others, however, are more respectful of White’s decision.
“I completely respect what they’re trying to do. There comes a point where you just have to say ‘Okay, we’ve done something great, now let’s leave it be and move on’. I think it’s beautiful that they said the music belongs to us now, it reminds me what I love about music in the first place,” said Junior Joey Dalla Betta.
Whatever the reason, Jack White will certainly not be bored after the split. Aside from The White Stripes, White has formed several other bands. In 2005, White formed The Raconteurs with three other friends after recording the song “Steady, As She Goes”. The band released their debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, and set out on tour, as the opening act for Bob Dylan. In 2008, they released a second album, Consolers of the Lonely, which received a grammy.
White formed a new group in early 2009 with the frontwoman of The Kills, Alison Mosshart. With Jack white on drums, vocals, and the occasional guitar solo, they called themselves The Dead Weather. They released their first album, Horehound, in 2009 and have since released singles leading up to their new album, which is allegedly going to be released soon.
In addition to three full-fledged bands, White has collaborated with numerous artists and even been featured in the film “It Might Get Loud,” along with Jimmy Page. In November 2010, producer Danger Mouse announced that he would be collaborating with White in a new project.
With all of these projects, it does make sense why Jack and Meg would want to step away from The White Stripes, to progress with their other endeavors. The White Stripes will leave a 13-year musical legacy behind, for all to enjoy.
“The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want.” (Taken from

Tumblr..The New Facebook

By: Carrie Shores

Although Facebook and Twitter are currently the most popular social network out there today, a new website is climbing up there with them and forming its own sense of popularity. This website is called
Tumblr is a blogging website where people can express themselves freely while following others blogs as well. There are many similarities between these social networks such as the concept of “following” and “liking” others posts. The difference between them, is that Twitter and Facebook seem to be more personal, Tumblr is more so about expressing your feelings through things such as photos, quotes, videos, and personal essay type writings rather than communicating directly with others.
There is some controversy within this website because it create a false sense of reality and can be simply depressing. Also, anorexic girls have started something called a “Progress Blog” which shows their weight loss progress throughout their disease. They support each other’s disorders and share dangerous secrets. This is very scary because its harming young girls. Also, a lot of pictures posted on Tumblr are pictures of models and really thin girls. This doesn’t help their disease.
There is always an up and down to anything. The positive side of Tumblr is that is it is a good way for teenagers to vent their feelings if they feel like they can’t talk to anyone about their problems.

The Best and Worst Dressed of the SAG Awards

The Best and Worst Dressed of the SAG Awards
Tayce Taylor

Award events have started the New Year, claiming the best of the best; but who really won best fashion sense? The red carpet is the perfect time to show celebrities’ fashion tastes and expensive jewelry and clothing. The very recent Screenwriters Actors Guild Awards showed every star’s glamour. Natalie Portman wore a beautiful white dress outlines in sequins, but it looked like it was suffocating her baby! It was way too tight. Jennifer Lawrence must have bought her dress from Hello Kitty. Lawrence was spotted wearing a hot pink dress, cut off with a black belted bow. Hilary Swank went all nude in her gown that looked very classy. Bravo. Amy Adams sported a tight white dress, that might have been too tight because it showed every bump on her body.. Although your not supposed to wear red on the red carpet, Mila Kunis fashioned a red draped dress that won my vote as best dressed! Christina Hendricks got my vote for the absolute worst dressed as she wore a black robe-looking thing. Kim Kardashian was seen in a sexy purple dress with sequin embellishments, with light make-up that made her look very refreshed and beautiful The red carpet disagreed with Winona Ryder’s wedding dress that definitely did not fit this event. Be on the look out for next week’s Grammy Awards, and soon Oscars.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Auditions For Play In Miami, Florida

Energizer Keep Going® Hall of Fame (Deadline: February 4)

We all know someone who's persevered and made a positive impact. Just like the Energizer Bunny®, they never give up. That person could be your sister, your best friend, your son, daughter, or even you! Now's the time to give them the recognition they deserve. Just fill out the short, 4-question form at the website below. The top 10 Finalists will each receive a $1,000 donation to a charity of the Finalist's choice and a flip camcorder to help in their campaign efforts to become the 2011 Energizer Keep Going® Hall of Fame Inductee. The Inductee is then chosen by an online public vote, receiving a $10,000 cash prize and a $5,000 donation to his or her favorite charity. Plus, he or she will be honored at a special awards ceremony hosted by Energizer Keep Going® Hall of Fame Honorary Inductee, Cal Ripken, Jr. The deadline for submitting a nominee is February 4, 2011.

Environmental Service Projects on GYSD Application Deadline: March 10

YSA (Youth Service America), together with Disney, is now accepting applications from youth around the world for the Disney Friends for Change Grants. The grant funds youth-led service projects that focus on making environmentally friendly changes and engage youth on Global Youth Service Day, April 15-17.

The Disney Friends for Change program will award 50 $500 grants to youth-led service projects around the world that demonstrate youth leadership, creativity, and the commitment to making a positive impact on the environment.

Applicants must be young people ages 5 - 25, who seek to engage younger youth, especially those between ages 5 and 12, as volunteers. Applicants must also be associated with a school or organization.

Applications are due March 10. Learn more at

Worldwide independent film distribution company Needs Intern!

Worldwide independent film distribution company seeking organized, driven, and articulate sales interns to start immediately. We are looking for someone who can get on the phone with international companies to pitch films. Multi-lingual is a definite plus. Preferred languages are Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin. Great opportunity to learn the ''business'' of film. Non-paying, school credit available. 3-5 days/week. Flexible with schedules. Email cover letters and resume to

DISCLAIMER: If you are a high school student who is applying for an internship, please have your teacher/parent or guardian, check with the internship to see if they will take high school students!

2010-2011 Holocaust Remembrance Project Essay Contest

ELIGIBILITY: This contest is open to all students age 19 and under who meet the following criteria: 1) are currently enrolled as a high school student in grades 9-12 (including home schooled students), or who are high school seniors who may graduate high school any time in 2011, or who are enrolled in a high school equivalency program; and (2) are residents of the United States, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or are U.S. citizens living abroad.

WRITING PROMPT and WORD COUNT: Students responding to this year's writing contest should study the Holocaust and then, in an essay of no more than 1,200 words: (a) analyze why it is vital that the remembrance, history and lessons of the Holocaust be passed on to a new generation; and (b) suggest what young people can do to combat and prevent prejudice, discrimination and violence in our world today.

SUBMISSION: All essays must be uploaded to this contest web site by clicking HERE. Essays sent by mail, faxed, or e-mailed will be disqualified. The body of your essay may be NO MORE THAN 1,200 WORDS. The essays must be written in English. Every student must also submit an entry form which you will be prompted to complete before you download your essay. Be sure to log into this website through Internet Explorer or Firefox in order to successfully submit your uploaded essay and entry form.

REFERENCES: While this is a creative writing contest, research must be an integral component of the writing process. Every essay must include a Works Cited, Reference Page, or Bibliography citing all materials used in the research and writing of the essay. When conducting your word count, do not include words contained on your cover page or words used in your Works Cited, Reference Page, or Bibliography.

YOUR NAME: We will identify your essay electronically through the entry form you complete when enter the contest. Do not include your name anywhere on any page of your essay.

AUTHORSHIP and FORMAT: Each essay submitted must be the work of one student and may not be the collective work of more than one student. The essay must be in prose format and may be a commentary or interpretation of primary and secondary source material such as historical and reference material; oral histories; interviews, eyewitness accounts; official documents, maps, diaries, correspondence, testimonies, autobiographies and works of poetry, video or audiotapes, films, art, CD-ROM and Internet sources. The essay must be primarily directed toward this year's writing prompt. The essay must not be a fictitious story, poem, or lyrics to a song.

JUDGING: Entries will be judged anonymously and will not be returned to students. Submissions that adhere to the guidelines will be judged with special attention to: (1) evidence of relevant reading and thoughtful use of resource materials; (2) treatment of the assigned theme; (3) clear and effective language, mechanics and grammar; and, (4) a coherent pan of organization.

ORIGINAL WORKS: By submitting an essay, applicants certify that their essays are original, authored solely by them and that in writing their essay the writer did not plagiarize or otherwise infringe upon the rights of any third parties.

CERTIFICATES OF PARTICIPATION: Certificates of Participation will be issued by e-mail to all students who enter an essay to the Holocaust Remembrance Project and provide a working e-mail address in their entry form. Certificates will be printed out by recipients.

WINNERS: Winners will be notified of contest results and winning essays will be posted to our Web site by June 1, 2011. The ten First-Place Winners and teachers chosen to accompany the group will join Holocaust survivors during an all-expense-paid trip to South Florida, tentatively scheduled in early July, 2011.

SCHOLARSHIPS: The ten First-Place Winners will be awarded college scholarships from $5,000 to $2,500. Announcement of awards will take place at a special event during the South Florida trip. Scholarships are directly paid to winners' post-secondary educational institutions after students have graduated from high school and upon Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation's receipt of copies of their registration paperwork from said post-secondary educational institutions.

CASH PRIZES: Ten Second-Place Winners are awarded $500 cash prizes. Ten Third-Place Winners are awarded $250 cash prizes. These prizes are presented in the form of checks that are mailed to the address provided in the Second and Third Place Winners' entry forms.

MISCELLANEOUS INSTRUCTIONS: All essays submitted may be used or published in whole or in part by the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation or by other parties with its written permission. The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation reserves the right not to publish any essay it deems inappropriate for any reason. First-Place Winners MUST agree to participate in the entire Holocaust Remembrance Scholarship experience in South Florida in order to receive a scholarship. In the event that a First-Place Winner is unable or unwilling to participate in the trip to Los Angeles, in its entirety, no substitution prize will be awarded. The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation reserves the right not to award a prize or any prizes when submissions do not meet contest standards or criteria. Former Holocaust Remembrance Project First-Place Winners are not eligible to enter in this essay contest. For more information on past essays, visit our Web site at or e-mail all questions (not essays) to For application, please visit:

"Dream Deferred Essay Contest"

Who can enter the contest?
Entrants must be 25 years old or younger as of the contest deadline: February 20, 2011. Entrants must reside in Arab League member states, Iran, Afghanistan, or the United States. There is no minimum age requirement, and entrants do not need to be students. Prizes are awarded as cash, not scholarships.
Foreign Students: If you are a foreigner currently studying in the US, you can enter the contest. If you are a Middle Easterner studying in the US, answer one of the questions posed to Middle Easterners. If you are a citizen of the Middle East temporarily living outside the region, you can still enter the contest. If you are an American currently living overseas, you can enter the contest. Equal Opportunity: All essays are evaluated without regard for race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation of the author, as well as other classifications protected by applicable international US laws.

How long should entries be?
Essays should be at least 600 words, but no longer than 1,500 words. Footnotes, citations, and essay title do not count towards the word limit.

Can an essay entry remain anonymous?
If do not want your name made public in the event your essay is selected as a winner, check the "anonymous" box when submitting your essay. Several past winners have chosen this option.

When will HAMSA announce the winners?
Winners will be notified (and announced on our web site) by June 2010. Judges evaluate each essay for clarity, creativity, and persuasiveness to determine prize winners.

What are common mistakes to avoid when writing an essay?
Do not focus on US government policy and regional geo-politics (the Iraq War debate, the Arab-Israeli-Iranian conflict, Iran's nuclear program, etc.). Essays based on these topics are disqualified. Judges are looking for essays that explore what ordinary citizens can do on the grassroots level to strengthen individual rights within Middle Eastern societies. These civil rights include, but are not limited to, free expression, women's equality, minority rights, religious freedom, economic liberty, and artistic freedom.

How can a brief essay cover the broad topic of civil rights in the Mideast?
There are several ways to address this challenge. Past prize winners have discussed the larger problem of civil rights abuses across the Middle East with a range of examples. Others have focused on one particular country (Middle Eastern participants are strongly encouraged to address their own society). Others have focused on a particular kind of civil rights abuse (e.g., press censorship). There is no one "right" answer to any of the essay questions.

Do essays have to be original and does HAMSA retain the right to reprint essays?
Yes. Any quotations or outside intellectual material should have citations. All essay submissions become the property of the contest sponsor. At the same time, entrants can republish their essay on their own (e.g., on a blog, for a class paper, etc.) and use ideas for other writing.
If you have a question, email us at

For application, please visit:

Short Film Seeking Actors!

TV III is seeking actors for their short film that they are shooting the first week of March. If you are interested in more details, please see: Ms. Harkins

Blog Story: Both Sides of the Parental Spectrum: By Nat Herder

It’s shocking to see that there is such a wide dichotomy between parents and children, and that the suspicion is only going to grow and fester. Its not that parents giving their kids a drug test or giving them a strict curfew is necessarily a bad thing, but in the wake of The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, the relationship between parents and kids seems less like a loving family and more like a drill sergeant to his new recruits. The concept of personal responsibility has been lost; both spectrums of the parenting world are ineffective. The best way to be a parent is too let kids run free, make their own mistakes, and learn from them just as it was meant to be. Extreme discipline and extreme complacency will only take away the child’s sense of independence. If we don’t let them know what its like to be self-reliant now, how will they react when they are suddenly cast out into the real world. They will either melt down when they realize they have no idea how to bear down and work, or they will party past the point of good taste when they realize they have no idea how to have a good time.

Free screening: Gnomeo & Juliet LA Children's Film Festival


If interested in attending the screenings listed below,
you MUST RSVP to
with how many guests in your party. Please include the theater's name and date of screening in the subject heading of the e-mail.
RSVP no later than the day before the screening.
Please also bring this pass with you for admission.

Tuesday, February 8th at 7:30pm

AMC Century City 15

10250 Santa Monica Blvd. in Los Angeles, CA 90067

Thursday, February 10th at 7:30pm
AMC Burbank 16

125 E. Palm Ave. in Burbank, CA 91502

Theatre is overbooked to ensure capacity. ARRIVE EARLY, seating is on a first come, first serve basis. This pass DOES NOT guarantee admission and must be surrendered upon demand. No one will be admitted without a ticket or after the screening begins. Issuer reserves the right to refuse, revoke or limit admission in its sole discretion at any time. This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any recording device into the venue and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. On a case-by-case basis, we may permit simple camera-enabled mobile phones. If you attempt to use a recording device, you consent to your immediate removal from the theatre and forfeiture of the device. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability. NOT FOR RESALE. THIS PASS ADMITS TWO.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

5 Cheap Things to in LA

1) The Getty Museum. Explore American, and International art as well as the museum magnificent gardens. Check online to see what special exhibits are being displayed. The price of admission is free, however there is a $15 parking fee.
2) LA Zoo. Revisit your childhood and take a trip back to the zoo its only $14. There are also volunteering opportunities, and Midnight Zoo trips where you can camp out at the zoo.
3) In-n-out Burger. Hungry? Grab a burger from In-n-out known for California’s best burgers shakes and fries. The price of a combo meal is less than ten dollars and don’t worry there are grilled cheeses for vegetarians. Don’t forget to check out the secret menu.
4) Natural History Museum. If you love animals or history then this is the place for you. With special sections devoted to California History, Dinosaurs, mammals, and prehistoric sharks check out what has been walking and swimming around California for the last million years.
5) Geocaching. Ever wanted to be part of a treasure hunt? Well here is your chance. All you need is a GPS device or download the GPS Device on your phone. Geocaches are located all across Los Angeles. To find more information go to