Monthly Archives: March 2013

Inside Job (Ayse Zeynep Ozbay)

405px-OfficialInsideJob_Poster(Before I begin, for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, SPOILER ALERT)

Inside Job is a documentary film about the 2008 financial crisis. Charles Ferguson, the director, describes it as “the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption”. The film is divided into five parts: How We Got Here, The Bubble (2001-2007), The Crisis, Accountability and Where We Are Now. The documentary starts off by looking at the laws and allowances that form the roots of the 2008 financial crisis, such as the deregulation of the financial industry in the 1980s and the increased use of derivatives in the 1990s.

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The Lorax (Caely Rose Hibbits)

Lorax_teaser_posterThe Lorax, written by Dr. Seuss, was published in 1971.  In 2012, Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment released a movie/musical based on the book.  Both the book and the movie are about a boy living Thneedville, where everything is manufactured.  Even air is sold. Things that seem unimaginable to people are reality.  Paying for air or never having seen a tree that is real, has become the truth.  Just as years ago people thought paying for water in a plastic bottle was absurd, it is now a fact of life.  This movie show the effects that being greedy can have on nature.  Both through the current example of a man selling air and an example from the past about a man cutting down all of the trees.

This fictional tale uses a sarcastic tone to get the point across.  It also uses hyperbole and personification.  I thought that the colors and animation was done wonderfully in the film and that the images appeal to a younger audience. Hopefully this format will get the message across and teach them to love their surroundings, that nature isn’t something that doesn’t need to be cared for, and that money isn’t everything.

Most films that are socially conscious, are not well funded because they can easily cause controversy.  This film on the other hand, was funded by Universal Studios and was pretty much a shoe-in for a large audience.  The film brought in over 346 million dollars just from the box office, even though critics claim that much of the meaning was lost in the “Hollywood feature style,” which I agree with.  But, if this is what it takes for millions of people to watch a movie about playing ones part in saving the environment, I’m all for it.

While some of the original message may be lost, I think that kids will respond to The Lorax, if only for a short amount of time.  Whether it be planting a tree, or a garden, or even being nice to animals or other classmates something will happen. As for the older audience that saw the movie I think the last line will really effect them  “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not!”

The movie was available in theaters, digital purchase, dvd or bluray, as well a video game for iOS or Android Devices.  For more information one can look at the Lorax’s website:




Freedom is a documentary film about people of different cultures and religions who have set themselves along the road of freedom. The viewer initially notices a strange feeling transmitted through the music, the image of a zodiac sign and that of a fictive person. The protagonist is a fictive character who is searching for the meaning of freedom in 12 steps. For a few moments is still unclear what is going to happen next, until people of different cultures start explaining what the concept of freedom means to them. They relate freedom to their own happiness, and whatever else we will achieve will be incomplete if we fail to be free. At a point along the film the participators confess about their past relationships, failures and they were feeling fearful and lonely. They all had something in common. They were convinced that knowledge kept them away from depression and suicidal feelings. Knowledge was their power about everything happening in our lives. It is the knowledge to understand who they are, to encounter the fear and transform it into freedom. In their search of happiness they discover the borders of freedom by relating it to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And since we are living in a very complex system where money satisfies our natural needs and then we spend all our energy to security, friendship, love and confidence, we are left without any energy to go at the top of the triangle which is individuation. So our glory, our achievements gradually fade and we are still fearful of life. Every step toward freedom is shown with the images of 12 zodiac signs and each of them has a message to portray linked to astrology and life.
Aesthetically this film is very impressive; however in the beginning it lacks clarity on what we should relate later, the animated character, zodiac sign or the different persons giving their opinions. Graphic design was included in the film and the colors really matched to images that were coming next. In some parts their experiences and the haunting music was repetitive. Overall the movie was well made and I gained a lot. It was like discovering something about life which is hidden from everyone and now you’re given the possibility to have access to that kind of knowledge.
The film was made by Pj Ardies who is an independent director. He has been working about 12 years as a freelance TV editor and later he continued his own dreams toward making his own films. It was launched on 3 October 2012 and it was released on 16th of the November 2012. The movie budget was estimated to be €10,000.

The film is convincing about the issue of freedom related to happiness and sometimes is haunting when the viewer understands that he might not have reached it. Getting closer to freedom seems an easy thing, but it’s not. Nowadays people influenced by others learn that achievements are everything, and when they realize that what is taught to them is absolutely useless, they laugh at others and certainly at themselves. I think they do it because they are glad that they will finally connect with the concept of freedom and overcome all the artificial pains imposed on us. Few people are capable of totally dominating their fears and considering their defects as nonexistent. I definitely agree with the opinions that the key to freedom is overcoming our fears if they dominate our live, like fear of failure or judgments.
Pj Ardies says to suscribe here to become prt of his work.

“Programming the Nation?” Review

The documentary PROGRAMMING THE NATION? is a feature length film by Jeff Warrick about the history of subliminal messaging in the United States. Reflecting on his own experiences, combined with historical examples of media and professional opinions, Warrick presents a point of view that often makes the viewer question what to believe.

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Guest Speaker: Paola Richard -Journalist, Media Relations Expert, Campaign Coordinator (March 27, 2013)

After five years at Tor Vergata University in Rome – Italy, where she majored in Marine Biology, Paola Richard became an expert in environmental communication and media relations, working as a journalist, information officer and campaign coordinator for national and international organizations, the Italian Ministry of Environment, NGOs and the Information and Communication Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP).

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Guest Speaker: Mark Fonseca Rendeiro (March 13, 2013 in Arianna Auditorium at 12:30PM)

Mark Fonseca Rendeiro aka Bicyclemark; Portuguese-American, alternative journalist and independent podcast producer specializing in online journalism, social movements and global conflicts. 

Cairo, Egypt - 2012

Cairo, Egypt – 2012

In the year 2000 I started writing news commentary and reviews under the internet name bicyclemark, a name I was given for my preferred transportation back in New Jersey.  By 2001 I was working in Portugal when I founded the original incarnation of, then called bicyclemark’s communique. Later that year I moved to Amsterdam, where my interests turned to daily blogging with a focus on creative writing and news analysis. Continue reading

Guest Speaker: Laura Weinstein -Documentary Film Producer, Writer, Tour Guide (March 6, 2013)

A third-time guest speaker here at AUR, Laura Weinstein is a television veteran adept at high-level documentary production, development, acquisitions, distribution and marketing.

Laura moved to Rome in September 2004 after having worked at National Geographic TV and Film in Production for nearly 7 years.  Her last film with Nat Geo, for which she was Co-Producer, Dawn of the Maya, was nominated for 2 National Emmy awards.  Other prestigious films to her credit include Egypt Eternal: Quest of the Lost Tombs, Inside Mecca, In Search of the Jaguar, and Surviving Everest, most of which were big budget Nat Geo/PBS specials.

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Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory (Noemi Miyahara)

chemtrail-gearSince the 1940s, the NASA has been involved in weather modification. Controlling water supply, lighting, hail, and manipulating hurricanes and tornados would be beneficial to human welfare by inhibiting destructive weather and enhancing beneficial aspects. In 1964 the Special Commission on Weather Modification was formed by the National Science Foundation. Weather weapons were formed such as cloud seeding. However speculations have grown since then amongst the population, leading to conspiracy theories.

The most popular studied conspiracy is the chemtrail theory, claiming that airplanes sent by the government contain spray systems that deliberately release harmful chemicals into the air for undisclosed reasons. The conspiracy began in 1996 when people accused the USAF of spraying the population with substances from aircrafts that were leaving behind abnormal contrail patterns. The USAF have denied being involved with weather modification experiments or having plans of doing them in the future.  Since then other chemtrail conspiracy theories have spread through the internet, radio programs, and published books.

According to the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), a registered non-profit organization in Canada, the federal government uses destructive chemicals as a weapon to gain power; “In their quest to remain top dog in the kill chain, the purveyors of perpetual war have deliberately dimmed earth’s life-giving sunlight, and reduced atmospheric visibility with lung-clogging particulates and polymers. This ecological terrorism has severely compromised public health, according to thousands of testimonials” (Tracy). Other supporters of this conspiracy believe the chemtrails are for radiation management, psychological manipulation, population control, chemical warfare, and to mask Planet X or Nibiru. Furthermore people claim to of had illnesses and strange health problems after seeing chemtrails.

Scientific organizations, universities and media publications have all claimed the conspiracy to be false. Stating that these claimed chemtrails are actually contrails. Contrails are condensation trails or clouds of ice. They are formed when an aircrafts engine releases hot air into a cold atmosphere with low vapor pressure creating condensation. The water vapor released from the engine condenses into water droplets and then freezes into ice. These ice crystals are the white steaks left behind an aircrafts engine. Contrails also contain carbon dioxide, sulfate, and nitrogen oxides from engine exhaust which can have negative effects on the environment (McGrath 1). Though scholars and I are dubious of the conspiracy, others are free to think otherwise.

For further information on chemtrails you can visit:


“Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Feb. 2013. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. <;.

McGrath, Jane. “What Are Chemtrails, and Should You Be Scared of Them?” HowStuffWorks. HowStuffWorks, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. <;.

Tracy, James F. “Chemtrails. The Realities of Geoengineering and Weather Modification.” Global Research. Clobal Research, 8 Nov. 2012. Web. 25 Feb. 2013. <;.