Film project aims to raise £1 million to make a Creative Commons-licensed film
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Film project aims to raise £1 million to make a Creative Commons-licensed film

Friday, June 23, 2006

Matt Hanson aims to raise £1 million to fund the production of a feature-length film which would be distributed freely via the Internet under a Creative Commons licence, all funded through 50,000 people each donating £25 to the project, which he’s called ‘A Swarm of Angels‘.

No stranger to filmmaking, Matt has produced numerous digital short films, a series of books on digital filmmaking and set up the digital film festival onedotzero, now in its tenth year. He wants to finally make a feature length film, and decided that it was better to turn to the Internet for help and funding rather than plod through the usual ‘development hell‘.

“I wanted to put into practice what I’ve been preaching as a film futurist for ten years, and the technology and Internet infrastructure has just really caught up with that vision now for me to put it into practice.”

The process is inspired by the ‘web 2.0‘ movement, using social and collaborative communities on the Internet. Matt doesn’t see the funding as coming from donations, but as people paying a subscription to become part of a ‘Swarm’. “Rather than the ‘many producer’ model, this is more of an [sic] ‘smart consumer’ model … members can help implement and bring their expertise into play, and so become more actively involved in the production.”

The project hopes to use professional actors and crew, but use qualified members from the swarm as much as possible. The cast and the crew, including any volunteers that get chosen, would be paid for their work on the film, with Matt suggesting that this is “a great way for people to get into the industry”.

Those members not directly involved in making the film can still participate in the process by discussing ideas on a messageboard, and having a vote on certain crucial decisions such as which script gets chosen for production. Asked how he would balance his own creative direction with input from members, Matt said “my vision will lead the project forward and define the parameters, but the Swarm can influence that, and indeed offer improvements or insights I might not think of alone”.

“Remember filmmaking is always a team effort – whether you are Martin Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick or Jean Luc Godard, you promote people within the project that will complement and bring something extra to the vision of the film. Give it more life. With the Swarm we are making that process more democratic, and giving a wider range of people an opportunity to shine and have creative input.”

Members are promised a collector’s edition DVD of the end product and exclusive merchandise, but the main distribution of the film will be via the Internet, using ‘BitTorrent‘ and peer-to-peer networks. “Unlike many other filmmakers, I’m not wedded to cinema projection as the ‘be all and end all’ – I’m much more excited about people viewing remixed versions on their video iPods,” explains Matt.

The ‘remixing’ of the film will be possible thanks to it being distributed under a Creative Commons licence. Matt suggests that the ‘younger generation’ is more used to being involved with and interacting with entertainment, and points to remixes of the Star Wars films (eg ‘The Phantom Edit‘) as an example of these ‘mashups’. “At the end of the project I would love to have an event that showcased five wildly different versions of the film, different visions from people other than my definitive initial edit,” he suggests. The licence will be for non-commercial use only, however, and so commercial TV stations would still have to pay in order to screen the film.

The project is partly inspired by the success of ‘The Million Dollar Homepage‘, in which British student Alex Tew aimed to raise a million dollars to fund his university education, simply by selling advertising space on a single web page. The publicity surrounding the idea, coupled with the ‘viral’ effect of Internet users passing the page on, meant that he eventually managed to make himself the million dollars.

The success of these projects partly seems to depend on them being interesting and original enough to attract enough attention, and it’s often difficult to see how they could be repeated. Copy-cat versions of the million dollar homepage have so far failed to hugely take off. When asked about this idea, Matt responded “I already expect people to copy the model we are inventing with A Swarm of Angels – it’s a perfect way to create cult media, where the director gets more creative control and organically funds a project, and the fans of the project get more involvement within it. If the market gets too crowded with these projects though, then they’ll have to be packaged differently to stand out. But that’s what traditional film and media projects need to do anyway.”

Over 600 members have signed up to the ‘swarm’ so far, which Matt comments is already an early success, but 50,000 members in total will be needed in order to fully fund the £1 million budget. Matt suggests that getting to the next stage, of reaching 1,000 members, followed by the phase of getting 5,000 members, will be the hardest part, as after that the film will be more ‘tangible’. He expects to raise the full budget, but comments that if the fundraising stalls, “options will be presented by advisors and The Swarm, and based on some kind of consensus we’ll come up with the best option for moving forward.”

Traditionally, independent films are funded either through persuading wealthy individuals to invest, who sometimes are sometimes given ‘Executive Producer‘ credits, or through organisations like the UK Film Council, who award funds from the National Lottery. A tax credit for producers making small films in the UK was announced by the government in 2005, in a bid to give a boost to the UK independent film industry.

Matt says that the film will be “a thriller with soft science fiction elements”, which he says will suit his target audience. “But it will have an indie edginess to it, and be far more visually inventive than you would get with a ‘normal’ British independent feature.” Contributors to the project include artists The Kleptones, who will help with the soundtrack, comic book writer Warren Ellis and documentary filmmaker Grant Gee.

The Swarm of Angels project is online at aswarmofangels.com and costs £25 as an individual to become a member.

Hockey player Georges Laraque joins Green Party of Canada
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Hockey player Georges Laraque joins Green Party of Canada

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Former Montreal Canadiens hockey player Georges Laraque has joined the Green Party of Canada, according to the party and The Canadian Press. The player will be filling an undefined role for the time being, but Laraque isn’t ruling out running in the next federal elections.

“I’m ready to do whatever I can to help,” Laraque said Saturday in Montreal.

“We’re destroying the environment now and we have to make a change. To make a change you need public personalities to talk about it, to educate people. And I’m going to be one of them.”

“The Green Party has been active in Parliament in Europe and Australia for many years, and it has been to their benefit. It is high time for Canada to build a strong Green Party and to elect MPs who will speak out for a modern, sustainable and just vision of our development and choices,” said Jacques Rivard, Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada.

Laraque has been a long time vegan, meaning he eats no meat or other products derived from animals, like milk and cheese; and an animal rights activist. Last month he was released by the Canadiens, popularly known as the Habs, after scoring only one goal.

Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak
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Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 25). Three candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Blair, Robertson Boyle, Tony Dickins, Cliff Jenkins (incumbent), and Peter Kapsalis.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Shimon Peres discusses the future of Israel
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Shimon Peres discusses the future of Israel

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This year Israel turns sixty and it has embarked upon a campaign to celebrate its birthday. Along with technology writers for Slate, PC Magazine, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Aviation Weekly, Wikinews was invited by the America-Israel Friendship League and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to review Israel’s technology sector. It’s part of an effort to ‘re-brand the country’ to show America that there is more to Israel than the Palestinian conflict. On this trip we saw the people who gave us the Pentium processor and Instant Messaging. The schedule was hectic: 12-14 hours a day were spent doing everything from trips to the Weizmann Institute to dinner with Yossi Vardi.

On Thursday, the fifth day of the junket, David Saranga of the foreign ministry was able to arrange an exclusive interview for David Shankbone with the President of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres. For over an hour they spoke about Iranian politics, whether Israel is in danger of being side-lined in Middle Eastern importance because of Arab oil wealth, and his thoughts against those who say Israeli culture is in a state of decay.

The only crime I committed was to be a little bit ahead of time. And if this is the reason for being controversial, maybe the reason is better than the result.

Shimon Peres spent his early days on kibbutz, a bygone socialist era of Israel. In 1953, at the age of 29, Peres became the youngest ever Director General of the Ministry of Defense. Forty years later it was Peres who secretly gave the green light for dialogue with Yassir Arafat, of the verboten Palestine Liberation Organization. It was still official Israeli policy to not speak with the PLO. Peres shares a Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzak Rabin and Arafat for orchestrating what eventually became the Oslo Accords. The “roadmap” that came out of Oslo remains the official Israeli (and American) policy for peace in the Palestinian conflict. Although the majority of Israeli people supported the plans, land for peace was met with a small but fiery resistance in Israel. For negotiating with Arafat, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shouted at Peres, “You are worse than Chamberlain!” a reference to Hitler’s British appeaser. It was during this time of heated exchanges in the 1990s that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jew who thought it against Halakhic law to give up land given by God (Hashem).

Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, but he remembers that he has not always been as popular as he is today. “Popularity is like perfume: nice to smell, dangerous to drink,” said Peres. “You don’t drink it.” The search for popularity, he goes on to say, will kill a person who has an idea against the status quo.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Shimon Peres, the President of Israel.

Contents

  • 1 Israeli technology
  • 2 The future of the peace process in Israel
  • 3 The waning importance of history
  • 4 Is Israel a united society?
  • 5 Iran: will Israel strike first?
  • 6 The 2006 Lebanon War
  • 7 On American politics
  • 8 Peres on his Presidency and learning from the future, not the past
  • 9 Related news
  • 10 Sources
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Oil price jumps as Rita heads to refineries
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Oil price jumps as Rita heads to refineries

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Oil, natural gas, and gasoline futures prices are all rising in anticipation of the Hurricane Rita landfall on Friday. The market price for crude oil is rising about 1% a day, while gasoline futures rose 5% both Wednesday and Thursday. Natural gas prices are also rising, with NYMEX Henry Hub price index showing an increase of over 3.5% on Thursday. Oil refineries in the path of the storm, despite the pressure exerted by rising oil prices, are expected to increase their prices which in turn will be reflected at the pump.

The price for crude oil is expected to reach US$68 a barrel after reaching the all-time high in the U.S. at $70.85 on Aug 30, in fear of the landing of Rita along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Along the Texas gulf coastline, whose key U.S. oil production facilities were largely untouched by the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina onslaught three weeks ago, production and distribution facilities have been battened down.

Rita was downgraded to a Category 3 storm Friday as it neared the coast. The storm, packing sustained winds of 125 mph, appears headed for the border between Texas and Louisiana. Hurricane force winds extend up to 60 miles from the center, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm, currently, is the third-most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, just behind Gilbert in 1988 and the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

Regions of Texas near where the storm is expected to land is home to the biggest concentration of U.S. oil refineries, accounting for 26 percent of the nation’s total capacity. After Katrina made its landfall in Louisiana last month, four damaged refineries in Mississippi and Louisiana were shut down, crippling 5 percent of the US capacity. Eighteen of the 26 refineries in Texas are located on the Gulf of Mexico with a combined distillation capacity of 4 million barrels daily.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the Texas coastline, including Galveston, where the nation’s largest oil refinery belonging to Exxon Mobil Corp. is located.

“Some of those refineries in Texas, they’re at sea level. It’s a table top, it floods very easily, said Ed Silliere, vice president of risk management at Energy Merchant LLC in New York.

Plants have shut down as Rita advances. Shell Oil shut down its seventh-largest refinery in Deer Park, Texas. There is no date set for resuming production. Conoco Philips is shutting its Old Ocean, Texas, refinery. BP is pulling some workers from its Texas refinery and shutting parts of the fourth largest plants in US. Valero, the largest U.S. refiner, said it is closing its plants in Texas City and Houston, with the shutdown to be completed by midday Thursday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed at its meeting in Vienna on Tuesday to effectively suspend its quota system for the first time since 1991 Gulf War to relieve the rising oil price by pumping an estimated additional 2 million barrels of oil a day, which will begin at Oct 1 and last for 3 months.

The head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (the statistical and analytical wing of the U.S. Department of Energy), Guy Caruso, criticized OPEC for constraining production to keep prices high after the 11-member oil cartel pledged to make available the additional 2 million barrels daily.

“Without question,” Caruso said Wednesday when asked during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing whether OPEC has contributed to soaring oil prices, “OPEC policy has been to constrain production and collude… Under the FTC definition of collusion and price-fixing, yes.”

According to OPEC, 62 percent in U.K., and 24 percent of fuel prices in the U.S. consist of taxes. Consuming nations have a responsibility to invest in refineries and to lower taxes if they want lower fuel prices, OPEC President Sheikh Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah said. He is the oil minister of Kuwait.

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

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Ahmadinejad sends letter to George W. Bush
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Ahmadinejad sends letter to George W. Bush

Tuesday, May 9, 2006For the first time in three decades, direct and at least partially public diplomatic communication will commence between the United States (US) and Iran. Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sent a letter to the U.S. president George W. Bush proposing “new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world”.

Mr Gholam-Hossein Elham did not say whether the letter mentioned the nuclear dispute, one of the diplomatic problems currently straining relations between Iran and the USA. This information arrived one day after the Iranian parliament announced that it might retract from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if Western pressure over its programme was to increase.

Differing reports have been made as to whether or not the letter will be made public, and if so, when. In its online report of 8 May 2006, 09:25 GMT, the BBC quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi as saying that the contents of the letter would be made public once Bush had received it. The updated version of the report of 8 May 2006, 14:52 GMT, quotes Asefi as saying that the contents would be made public “at the right time”. An ABC report quoted Gholam-Hossein Elham as saying “it is not an open letter.”

Iran’s foreign affairs minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, delivered the letter to the United States’ interests section in the Swiss embassy in Tehran on Monday. The United States has not held diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said “this letter isn’t it. This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort.”

“It isn’t addressing the issues that we’re dealing with in a concrete way,” she added.

John R. Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, also read the letter, saying, “I think it is typical of Iran that when major decisions are about to be taken … that they have tried to throw sand in the eyes of the proponents of the action. That’s what this may be.”

The letter has since been put on an official Iranian website, and on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said “the letter to US President George Bush carries the Iranian nation’s views and comments on international issues as well as suggestions for resolving the many problems facing humanity.”

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Tonga: Four guilty over ferry disaster that killed 74
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Tonga: Four guilty over ferry disaster that killed 74

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tonga’s largest criminal trial today ended in the conviction of four men and the state shipping firm over the sinking of MV Princess Ashika. 74 were killed when the ferry went down off Nuku’alofa in 2009.

The vast majority of bodies remain missing. Only two were recovered, including one Tongan — a 21-year-old mother called Vae Fetu’u Taufa. The Shipping Corporation of Polynesia (SCP) manager John Jonesse, acting director of the national department for ports and marine affairs Viliami Tu’ipulotu, captain Viliami Makahokovalu Tuputupu, and first mate Semisi Pomale were all convicted of her manslaughter by negligence. The men were remanded into custody over the weekend to await sentencing; they face a maximum of ten years in jail.

Justice Shuster cited the severity of the offences in denying bail, which was requested by Laki Niu and Vuna Fa’otusia, attorneys representing the accused.

Built in the early 1970s, by 1985 the ferry was found to be unseaworthy and hence not suited for use in deep water. When SCP bought it in 2009 from Fiji, it suffered from “huge” rusting holes and on August 5 that year sank in deep water during a storm. Most passengers were sleeping below deck when the ship was lost near the island of Tongatapu, where it remains on the seabed. No women or children escaped.

The six-week trial followed a royal commission of inquiry that found Jonesse, from New Zealand, bought Princess Ashika “without any proper due diligence, surveys, inspections, valuations, documentation or proper inquiry having been completed.” It also concluded Tuputupu chose to sail that day despite the ship leaking on other journeys. The inquiry branded the loss “a result of systemic and individual failures… The tragedy is that they were all easily preventable and the deaths were completely senseless.”

SCP was convicted of charges concerning the vessel’s seaworthiness by the jury, which sat in Tonga’s parliament building after the trial’s high profile saw it moved away from Nuku’alofa Supreme Court.

Jonesse and Tuputupu have both been convicted of five counts of taking an unseaworthy ship to sea under the Shipping Act, for voyages held on July 3, July 9, July 15, July 23 and August 5. Jonesse is also guilty of forgery and knowingly using a forged document.

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Guitarist Les Paul dies at 94
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Guitarist Les Paul dies at 94

Friday, August 14, 2009

Les Paul, the American jazz guitarist whose eponymous electric guitar remains one of the most popular and influential designs of musical instrument in modern history, has died at the age of 94 of complications from pneumonia.

Born Lester William Polfuss in 1915 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, United States, Les Paul was establishing himself as a jazz musician in Chicago when in 1939 he built “The Log”, reputed to be the first solid-body “Spanish-style” electric guitar ever made. Discussions with Gibson Guitars led to the development of the Gibson Les Paul guitar, which with its unprecedented tonal properties (caused in part by its unprecedented weight) quickly established itself among players of both the emerging rock & roll style of music and the developing electric blues.

Paul was also a pioneer of recording techniques. Paul’s experiments with multi-tracking in the 1940s led to a string of chart successes with songs like “How High The Moon“, in which Paul’s guitar work and then-wife Mary Ford‘s vocals appeared a novel many-layered setting, Paul playing up to eight guitar parts and Ford harmonizing with herself.

Although Paul entered semi-retirement in his 50s, he remained active and performing almost until his death; his last album was released in 2006. Les Paul received a number of accolades throughout his career: he was the recipient of numerous Grammy awards, an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the namesake of the Mix Foundation‘s Les Paul Award for “individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of audio technology.” He was also the subject of two biographical films.

While Les Paul had no children, he is survived by a godson, the guitarist Steve Miller.

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Shimon Peres discusses the future of Israel
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Shimon Peres discusses the future of Israel

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This year Israel turns sixty and it has embarked upon a campaign to celebrate its birthday. Along with technology writers for Slate, PC Magazine, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Aviation Weekly, Wikinews was invited by the America-Israel Friendship League and the Israeli Foreign Ministry to review Israel’s technology sector. It’s part of an effort to ‘re-brand the country’ to show America that there is more to Israel than the Palestinian conflict. On this trip we saw the people who gave us the Pentium processor and Instant Messaging. The schedule was hectic: 12-14 hours a day were spent doing everything from trips to the Weizmann Institute to dinner with Yossi Vardi.

On Thursday, the fifth day of the junket, David Saranga of the foreign ministry was able to arrange an exclusive interview for David Shankbone with the President of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shimon Peres. For over an hour they spoke about Iranian politics, whether Israel is in danger of being side-lined in Middle Eastern importance because of Arab oil wealth, and his thoughts against those who say Israeli culture is in a state of decay.

The only crime I committed was to be a little bit ahead of time. And if this is the reason for being controversial, maybe the reason is better than the result.

Shimon Peres spent his early days on kibbutz, a bygone socialist era of Israel. In 1953, at the age of 29, Peres became the youngest ever Director General of the Ministry of Defense. Forty years later it was Peres who secretly gave the green light for dialogue with Yassir Arafat, of the verboten Palestine Liberation Organization. It was still official Israeli policy to not speak with the PLO. Peres shares a Nobel Peace Prize with Yitzak Rabin and Arafat for orchestrating what eventually became the Oslo Accords. The “roadmap” that came out of Oslo remains the official Israeli (and American) policy for peace in the Palestinian conflict. Although the majority of Israeli people supported the plans, land for peace was met with a small but fiery resistance in Israel. For negotiating with Arafat, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shouted at Peres, “You are worse than Chamberlain!” a reference to Hitler’s British appeaser. It was during this time of heated exchanges in the 1990s that Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, a Jew who thought it against Halakhic law to give up land given by God (Hashem).

Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, but he remembers that he has not always been as popular as he is today. “Popularity is like perfume: nice to smell, dangerous to drink,” said Peres. “You don’t drink it.” The search for popularity, he goes on to say, will kill a person who has an idea against the status quo.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Shimon Peres, the President of Israel.

Contents

  • 1 Israeli technology
  • 2 The future of the peace process in Israel
  • 3 The waning importance of history
  • 4 Is Israel a united society?
  • 5 Iran: will Israel strike first?
  • 6 The 2006 Lebanon War
  • 7 On American politics
  • 8 Peres on his Presidency and learning from the future, not the past
  • 9 Related news
  • 10 Sources
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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