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Who Made Who? An Interview with Iiris Härmä on A.I.

16 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

* Playing during Doxa Documentary Film Festival, from June 18 to 26. Tickets to an online screening can be purchased here. For information, please visit their faq.

Finnish filmmaker Iiris Härmä is perhaps best known for her documentaries exploring cultural identity. Her first work, End of the Line, is a sociological film about old men losing work at a bus factory and having nowhere else to go. It was developed in a time when globalization was making waves; the shift of where work can be done cheaper displaced many people. The ripple effect is disconcerting. Her degrees in Ethnology and Cultural Studies helps pinpoint topics of humanitarian interest. When she graduated with a diploma on film studies from the New School University in NY, the sky’s the limit for what she liked to explore in the cinematic medium–or rather, on what we learn from her discourses.

Her latest work Who Made Who? examines where artificial intelligence technology is currently headed. After her own experiences with it, namely in dealing with automated bank services through the phone, it got her curiosity going. She said another encounter was at a seminar in 2015 at Helsinki, where Michael Laakasuoed talked about the moralities of AI; it was an eye-opening experience. She talked about her inspiration in an interview with the Finnish Institute, and I’m fairly sure she took a lot more out of making this documentary than we as viewers did, as newcomers to a future not everyone is prepared for.

Essentially, this documentary examines the relationship between humans and technology. It’s not too different from Hi. A.I., a film I looked at some months ago (review link here) which dealt with similar themes. I was reminded of how robots can help keep some seniors occupied than the other one concerning Charles attempting to have a meaningful conversation with Harmony; a couple they were not.

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On Why We Want to Believe with Jason Hewlett, JoBlo.com & Vancouver Paranormal

14 Jun

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

To make a mark in the paranormal pop culture scene requires a schtick network television and mainstream movies rarely want to play up. We Want to Believe is not so much about exploring the wilds of Supernatural British Columbia than Super, natural as it’s actually marketed. Instead, it’s to reveal to enthusiasts of such occult-type television programming a web series can hold a viewer’s attention much better in a shorter, digestible format!

The show’s genesis came from Jason Hewlett, who originally thought of making an audio podcast after spending a few years with the Vancouver Paranormal Society (VPS). He has his own show, works for the Kamloops Daily News covering local crime and is a voice on Radio NL 610 AM before bringing his skills to the group. All it took was believing there was something under the bed as a child and finding something weird–perhaps druidic–on a hike once at Shuswap Lake later in his years.

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[Vancouver, BC] Give ❤ to Doxa with this Preview

8 Jun

DOXA FestivalBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

It’s no secret that most film festivals around the world are going virtual. The next regional one in British Columbia is the Doxa Documentary Film Festival taking place June 18-26. This Vancouver-based event is presented by the Documentary Media Society (incorporated 1998) and they curate an impressive selection of works which explores the human condition. They want us as a society to think more about the world around us.

This fact also includes making the wise choice to still stay at home until the pandemic is in control or perhaps getting informed with the films to be presented. The following are my picks. They range from examining gender roles to where A.I. may fit in as the future.

Please note that some of these works are approved for screening only in this province, and the synopsis are from Doxa’s website. The tickets purchased give a code to viewing it online anytime during the event dates.

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Having New Comic Book Release Day Woes? Fret not, True Believers!

25 May

Home Page - Back the ComebackAfter more than a month of no new books of sequential art to admire, some geeks are most likely truly suffering from cabin fever. Diamond Comic Distributors and Alliance Game Distributors have officially restarted distribution and many comic book and game stores are starting to reopen safely, following a pause and temporary closure of many retailers amid stay-at-home orders across many  countries.

With new comics and games starting to ship to eager stores and fans, consumers can look forward to games from WizKids, Renegade Studios, Wizards of the Coast, and others as well as new stories from Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, Marvel and DC Comics, among others in the coming weeks.

While this Back the Comeback campaign is very specific to operations in the United States, we shouldn’t stop there. In Canada, the UK, Australia and other points in between, the operations here also need fandom’s help.

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