“Snowden” Presented by Fathom Events

“Snowden” Presented by Fathom Events

September, Fathom events – On Wednesday, September 14, Fathom Events presented “Snowden,” an expertly directed docu-drama by the incomparable Oliver Stone followed by a Live conversation with Edward Snowden (via the internet) and Oliver Stone and the two main actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley (live from NYC).

“Snowden” is the story of an idealistic young man by the name of Edward J. Snowden, probably the world’s most famous, or infamous, depending on your point of view, whistle-blower, who worked for National Security Agency and the C.I.A. as a data analyst, and whose experiences with those organizations lead him to question some accepted truths about patriotism, one’s responsibility to one’s country, and to ultimately challenge the very essence of authority.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden does a remarkably empathetic representation of a shy, intelligent idealist, drawn to government intelligence work out of a sincere desire to serve his country and the gradual and cinemagraphically nuanced transition he experiences at those agencies from an unquestioning data analyst to either a patriotic whistle-blower or traitor depending on one’s point of view. Stone’s interpretation of the events clearly supports the former.

In contrast to many of Stone’s earlier efforts, “Snowden” is a remarkably restrained and intelligent film in both cinematic and political terms…no rage against the system or beating the drum of justified revolution.  Snowden is represented as a sincere and thoroughly rational idealist whom Stone frames within a world of divided loyalties, secrecy, and indications of astonishing world-altering power.  We witness his ethical angst within a very effective restrained cinematic context.  It’s a world of data, codes, and algorithms, a context within which Stone may in fact not be able to choose a course of unrestrained anger and leftist polemic as is typical in many of his earlier works.

Stone makes his case uncharacteristically a-political case with enormous skill, discretion, and restraint without the need to dazzle or enrage his audience.  “Snowden” is a clear and honest dramatization of one of the more outstanding news events of the past several years and worthy of our attention.

Celebration of “Labyrinth 30th Anniversary”

Celebration of “Labyrinth 30th Anniversary”

September, Fathom events – Picture Home Entertainment and Fathom Events bring “Labyrinth 30th Anniversary” to the big screen on September 11 at hundreds of theaters throughout the country to celebrate Jim Henson’s imaginative adventure.

“Labyrinth,” a children’s fantasy complete with extraordinary Muppet-type puppets, was produced by George Lucas in 1991 and featured David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. It was initially a critical and box office failure, costing $25 million to produce and grossing $12.5 million. Over the years, however, it became something of a cult favorite, enjoying a new audience ten years and beyond. In fact, the Fathom presentation enjoyed an enthusiastic standing-room-only screening on the evening of it’s presentation.

It was directed by Jim Henson who was the creator of the Muppets of TV’s groundbreaking “Sesame Street “ which first aired on PBS November 10, 1969 and is currently enjoying it’s 46th successful season and continues to feature many of Henson’s original Muppets, including Elmo and Oscar the Grouch.The film features a rather menacing and demonic-looking singing Wizard played by David Bowie who seems rather uncomfortable in the role, perhaps he had to share top billing with a bunch of puppets.  The plot is a simple one dealing with the mis-adventures of 15-year-old Sarah in search of her baby brother Toby. Needless to say, it has a happy end.

What Dr Bennet Omalu and Will Smith have in common?

What Dr Bennet Omalu and Will Smith have in common?

Biotechnology, September 2016 – The opening keynote for Biotechnology conference in San Francisco this past June was a brilliant pairing of two speakers – Forensic pathologist Dr Bennet Omalu and famous actor Will Smith.

What brought them together? The answer is – cinema.

Both of them are the characters of the movie “Concussion” that was released at the end of 2015 and many claimed that it deserved an Oscar nomination. It is the story of Dr Bennet Omalu (portrayed by Will Smith in the movie) who discovered and described a disease called CTE – Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy after a few dramatic accidents resulted in the early deaths of football players in Pittsburgh. For those who haven’t seen the movie I save writing a review, because it is worth going to see.

Dr Bennet Omalu talked on the stage about science for the sake of knowledge and the interrelationship of pure science and its faith. Will Smith talked about his reaction to the film. How he suddenly got concern about his son that likes to play football. Both men are very colorful characters. Omalu’s sense of humor and unstoppable laugh was dominating on the stage. Will Smith was talking about challenges in that role including Omalu’s accent and the laugh.

The film opened the public eyes at the challenges that players facing and shake the NFL world. Omalu who is dedicated to the science as investigating how the world works, and to this end, used his own money to investigate why the admired Steeler team football player Mike Webster, ended up his life alone, homeless and in unbearable pain. Omalu kept asking why that happened and why at so early an age. The road to acceptance of the discovery wasn’t easy but Omala believed and searched for truth no matter what.

As many attendees came being attracted by Will Smith presence they were taken by surprise and found  Dr Bennet Omalu very interesting and compiling person.

IDF Intel 7th Generation Core Processors

IDF Intel 7th Generation Core Processors

IDF, September 2016 – At the Intel Developer Forum, while a lot of the discussion was on IoT and smart connections, Intel continued their technology advancement and development of multi-core processors for the consumer computer market.  The company held a briefing to announce their 7th generation Core series microprocessor.

The new processors continued the take advantage of the new process technology.  The processors use the Intel 14nm+ technology which is an updated and advanced version of the 14nm process released a short time back.  This new process is about 12% faster than the standard 14nm process and allows for increased productivity in the design. The new process is not only faster but also lower power so the designs of the new PC’s using them can be thinner and lighter with longer battery life.

The higher density design on the 14nm+ process allowed for the addition of a new graphics engine to be built into the chip that will now support UHD 4K video without an additional external GPU card or chip. This will all the computers for be used for immersive applications such as VR, and high resolution movies.

This year, there are supposed to be over 100 designs from multiple manufacturers that will be released with the new core generation core processors.  These designs now support new standard functions such as USB 3.1, Thunderbolt 3, Windows Hello, a pen/stylus, and 4K display panels.  These will enhance both gaming/entertainment and standard office productivity.  The computers with the new processors, and supporting the new DDR4 DRAM memory and Flash memory storage solutions, are many times faster and more productive than a computer from as little as 5 years ago.

Workstations are the tool of choice at SIGGRAPH

Workstations are the tool of choice at SIGGRAPH

Siggraph, July 2016 – The annual SIGGRAPH event is the meeting place for the academics, innovators, industry and professional media producers to meet and share their experiences.  The commonality is the blending of the technology and engineering with the artistic vision that drive cinema, TV and advertising.  To help realize these visions on a release schedule, the computers used had to change and became workstations.

Dell’s Precision Workstations had a lot of visibility at the SIGGRAPH 2016 show even though Dell did not have a booth on the show floor and the company did not introduce any new products. We living on providing solutions – said Molly Connolly, WW Industry Strategist, Media & Entertainment – We are looking for symbiotic microcosms. She confirmed that the company understands the balance with software professional community and also their customers. Her focus is on how we can engage with the community and listen what their needs are to make their workstations even better.

Dell’s workstation is a solution for the SIGGRAPH community.

The facts are that you don’t need the workstation if you are just running office and email but everyone who is creating visual and digital content, and those who are using the professional applications for creating the digital content;  those professionals need system commonality, multi-processors with multiple cores, ECC memory, professional graphics compute capability, fast storage, fast IO & networking. All that workstation provides.

Workstation are for time critical applications and they are designed not to fail and require the user re-crate the content. If you running a 3 day rendering task, and you know that your film has to be in theaters in 8 weeks, the workstation is the solution for you. The same for broadcasting space. Broadcast cannot let the screen go dark or have the content interrupted.

Dell’s workstations for M&E Tech space enables the magic to happen – said Molly. Dell’s workstation has been used by the last five winner of Academy Awards for Visual Effects. Molly went on to state that – “We’ve been very fortunate. Dell precision workstation has been recognized as leader in performance.”  This recognition has been for both the desktop and portable workstations.

This capability is what is driving Dell as one of the dominant platforms for the creation of VR content.  The workstations are designed to support all the pieces needed for this new stereoscopic and 360 degree content marketplace, and are being quickly adopted as the computer of choice for the VR creators.

Looking at the process. Artists create the content – mostly at the workstation, they manage the content – typically on server, then they deliver the content and you enjoy it (or consume it).  The workstations, with their fault tolerant design, construction for long hours of continuous operation and capacity for high performance computing allow this process to happen on a predictable schedule, freeing the artists to create their vision, rather than worry about the computing.