Posts Tagged ‘casa romantica’

Film Stories Festival presented by student-founded Flashbulb Entertainment rewards top high school and college filmmakers, as judged by a Hollywood writer and director.



SAN CLEMENTE -(CA)- High school and college filmmakers got their turn in the spotlight Monday evening as Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente hosted the third annual Film Stories Festival, featuring 10 student-made short films.


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Film Stories Festival director Zack Roman, 20, left, of San Clemente stands with Brian Ivie, 20, of San Clemente, president of event sponsor Flashbulb Entertainment, at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente on Monday evening. The third annual Film Stories Festival featured 10 student-made short films with categories for high school and college.

The festival, organized and sponsored by San Clemente-based production company Flashbulb Entertainment, is meant to help student filmmakers get started in an industry that can be financially challenging, according to Flashbulb founder and president Brian Ivie, 20, a graduate of San Clemente High School.

“Our goal this year is to promote student filmmakers by rewarding creative, lasting stories before aesthetics, where winners receive scholarship prizes to pursue their artistic passions,” Ivie said. “In the end, we hope to help fulfill the dreams of young people who might otherwise be forced to forfeit those dreams for financial reasons.”

Hollywood writer and director Stephen Suscojudged the entries, awarding the $500 high school scholarship award to 2011 Capistrano Valley High School graduate Kevin Clark for his 14-minute film “The Thief and the Liar,” which he wrote, produced and directed. The 2010 film is a 1930s-set avant-garde take on real-life bank robber Willie Sutton.

Clark used social media to fund the $1,000 cost of the project, which took six months of planning and two days to shoot, followed by two weeks of editing. The biggest challenge, Clark said, was maintaining the look and feel of the time, including slang, the set, props and borrowed newsreel footage.

Clark said he would do it differently now, in light of what he learned working on the film and other projects since.

“At first, I just told the actors what I wanted,” Clark said. “Now, I’ll listen and let them relate to the role on their own.”

The Best of Fest prize as well as first place in the college category went to UCLA master’s recipient Erick Oh for his eight-minute animated film “Heart.” His prizes totaled $1,500.

The festival was in conjunction with Casa Romantica’s “Salute to Hollywood” exhibit on the evolution of filmmaking, which includes photos, costumes and other memorabilia through Oct. 23 at 415 Avenida Granada.

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One of the first images of the Moon and on film

SAN CLEMENTE, -(CA)- Can Big Brother see you in your underwear from space? According to John Hoot, who owns an imaging consulting firm in San Clemente that works with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the average satellites orbiting the Earth at altitudes of 190 to 450 miles can see you – but not with enough resolution to say it’s you and not your neighbor.

During a presentation called “Images in Space” on Thursday night at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente, Hoot said satellites normally operate at higher altitudes to avoid being pulled down by Earth’s gravity but can come down lower for a short time to take photos when its important enough. That’s when they can collect some great images.

Let me go out to the car and get my checkbook.

Because of particles in Earth’s atmosphere such as dust, smog and moisture, imaging technology like that used by Google Earth can get image resolutions only within about 10 feet of clarity. Hoot says cameras, lenses and technology are sophisticated enough to realize high resolutions within an inch or two at altitudes of 190 miles, but the Earth’s cloudy atmosphere is hard to get around without what he calls “adaptive optics.” That’s what likely is used on U.S. military satellites to get better images than what any civilian will ever see.

Hoot detailed the beginnings of space photography, which he says essentially began just after World War II when the United States brought back more than 200 German V-2 rockets captured at the end of the war, placed cameras inside them and tested them as a means of aerial reconnaissance.

look closely to see who is really taking the photo.

In his hourlong talk, Hoot discussed the various forms of space photography, beginning with film and later scanners, infrared technology, television and finally solid-state sensors that deliver flat, distortionless images in very high resolution.

With film, rockets orbiting Earth would have to eject film in re-entry capsules that would float down by parachute and be recovered in midair by aircraft with special booms and wires. During those days, recovery was always planned over the Pacific Ocean, specifically over the almost 36,000-feet-deep Mariana trench, so that if any problem occurred in recovery, the capsule would be not be found by any rival country such as Russia or China.

Thanks to digital transmissions, Hoot said, the photos we see today are delivered from deep-space projects such as the Hubble Space TelescopeMars PathfinderMars Exploration Rover and the Voyager I, which, launched in September 1977, is the farthest manmade object from the Earth. Voyager I, transmitting at 1¾ watts, will continue to receive directions and send images back to Earth until at least 2025, when it begins to leave our solar system.

The fickle hand of fate?

In the beginning of space imaging, cameras were electronically simple but mechanically complex. That is now reversed, allowing devices we use every day, such as cell phones and digital cameras, to be smaller, more easily affordable and operate with greater reliability, Hoot said.

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Former Shuttle Astronaut Jose Hernandez speaks with the future.

SAN CLEMENTE –(CA)- You might not often make a connection between sweets and space, but 11-year-old Mikaela Bellomo of San Clemente says she’s more determined than ever to one day open a candy shop after hearing former astronaut Jose Hernandez speak at Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens.

“You can be anything you want, but the key is an education,” Hernandez said Monday afternoon to about 200 local residents, including 60 children from the Boys & Girls Club.

Hernandez detailed his 2009 mission aboard thespace shuttle Discovery, spending 14 days circling the Earth every 90 minutes and traveling more than 5.7 million miles. The mission was to deliver 18,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station and collect and put in place several experiments.

Young artist with his Space Cow.

Hernandez also spoke about his early childhood as the son of migrant farmworkers in California’s Central Valley. He started working in the fields early each morning alongside his parents, brothers and sisters, picking fruit and vegetables. It was still dark outside, and Hernandez would look up to the stars and the moon. He decided at 8 years old that one day he would be an astronaut.

But due to the nature of migrant work and traveling a lot, it was hard to attend school consistently, he said. Each year, his family returned after the picking season to their home in Mexico for three months or more, making it difficult to stay proficient in English.

Hernandez reached a turning point when a teacher went to where he and his family were living, near his birthplace of French Camp, to talk about the importance of education. His parents spoke no English and the teacher spoke no Spanish, so it was up to Hernandez to interpret.

“So I would go back and forth explaining everything,” he said. “My teacher … told my parents, through me, that children, much like trees, have to be in one place to put down roots and grow, or in other words, get an education. So soon after that, we just stayed in California without returning to Mexico except for two-week vacations.”

His parents encouraged him to follow his dream, he said, saying he could do anything he set his mind to.

Hernandez showed Monday’s audience a 20-minute video of his Discovery mission. Then he accepted a $5,000 check for his charitable foundation, Reaching for the Stars, from Dr. Ronald Redmond, a local dentist who sponsored the event.

Hernandez took time for pictures, autographs and words of encouragement for the eager kids surrounding him, including Cara Kitts, 12, a San Clemente resident who aims to be an engineer.

“My favorite part was to see how the two parts (the space shuttle and the International Space Station) made the physical connection,” Kitts said. “I asked him what he thought about the space shuttle Discovery’s last mission right now, and he said he was sad because it was the one he was on.”

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Metrolink Holiday toy express 2008

Metrolink Holiday toy express 2008

Metrolink began last year a program that stops in various cities on the way to Camp Pendleton and collect toys to take to military families that feel the need for some help.  Fireman collect the toys at each stop, and in addition to military famlies, collect toys for all needy families.

Metrolink has constructed a special set of train cars that support a fun holiday program that characters perform from atop the train at each stop.  Last year it had a “pirate” theme where Santa and his crew were kidnaped and held hostage for toys.  Eventually, of course, Santa is rescued and the pirates are allowed to have toys and take part in Christmas anyway.

This year it was “Santa-Claus” versus “Santa-Hog” who wanted to take all the presents for himself; in the face of Santa’s message Santa-Hog learns not to be a hog and share.


Reindeer helpers at The Casa Romantica with Santa.

Reindeer helpers at The Casa Romantica with Santa.

The Casa Romantica had a program last Saturday for all the kids that featured Santa, games, caroling, snacks, hot drinks, the christmas goose and a talking Christmas tree.  

Nothing compares to any of the events I cover, with how the children respond to Santa.  Although, there are a few that are terrified it’s true, the average little one approaches with awe and barely concealed elation that emotionally is un-measurable.


Santa is fun.

Santa is fun.



This what Santa is all about.

This what Santa is all about.



Aliso Viejo also had a Christmas gig on Sunday.  They had singing and performances by the high school dance group.  A high school duo sang some Christmas songs and then led the group in caroling.  There was free hot chocolate and then Santa and Mrs. Claus showed up with Frosty the Snowman and lit the  city Christmas tree.  Santa sat for awhile and met all the children that waited for him and checked their lists.

The first little guy that was in-line (see photo) sat down and was all business, as he had several lists and information that he wanted to give Santa.  His parents made an effort to move him along but he was so into it, there was no stopping him.  Santa checked it all and he got a candy cane out of it.  The parents and all the adults nearby could not contain themselves; it was hilarious and everyone was a good sport.



THE Christmas List.

THE Christmas List.



Just a little taste of Christmas in the southland.

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