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February 29, 2016

DiCaprio finally wins Oscars

DiCaprio finally wins Oscars – Wikinews, the free news source

DiCaprio finally wins Oscars

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Today, with a unique date, at the 88th Academy Awards, Leonardo DiCaprio finally broke the 22 year jinx with a total of six nominations in total, winning his first ever Oscars award for the Best Actor for his role in the movie The Revenant. The movie had two other nominations, for Best Cinematography and Best directing, and won all of them.

File photo of DiCaprio
Image: Christopher William Adach.

The Revenant addressed the issue of climatic changes, and in the award acceptance speech, DiCaprio spoke about all those underprivileged people who are affected adversely by human activities on nature. He also said “Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow”. He concluded saying “I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.”

Cquote1.svg I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much. Cquote2.svg

—Leonardo DiCaprio

DiCaprio previously got nominations for the Academy Awards for his roles in The Wolf of Wall Street, Blood Diamond, The Aviator and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape when he was just 19-year-old.

DiCaprio’s co-star of the movie Titanic Kate Winset was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Steve Jobs movie, but lost to Swedish actress Alicia Vikander for her role in the movie adaptation of the novel The Danish Girl.

Mad Max: Fury Road had ten nominations and won six of them, namely Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Ex Machina won the award for Visual Effects. Spotlight won the Best Picture award, Brie Larson collected Best actress for the movie Room and Sam Smith‘s song Writing’s on the Wall won the Best Original music for Spectre ahead of Grammy’s winning song Earned It by Canadian singer The Weeknd.

This would now end the trolls mocking him ‘Leonardo NoOscario’.


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  • “‘Earned It’ earns The Weeknd his first Grammy” — Wikinews, February 17, 2016

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DiCaprio finally wins Oscar for Best Actor

DiCaprio finally wins Oscar for Best Actor

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Monday, February 29, 2016

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Yesterday Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar, for Best Actor, at the 88th Academy Awards. The award ended DiCaprio’s long wait for an Academy Award — he was first nominated in 1993 and won on his sixth nomination, for his role in The Revenant, which also won Best Cinematography and Best Director.

File photo of DiCaprio
Image: Christopher William Adach.

Cquote1.svg I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much. Cquote2.svg

—Leonardo DiCaprio

In his acceptance speech, DiCaprio described The Revenant as “about man’s relationship to the natural world”, and spoke of underprivileged people affected adversely by human activities on nature. He also said “Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow”. He concluded saying “I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much.”

DiCaprio was previously nominated for his work in The Wolf of Wall Street, for Best Actor and Best Picture; Blood Diamond, for Best Actor; The Aviator, Best Actor; and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, for Best Supporting Actor.

Kate Winslet, who co-starred with DiCaprio in Titanic, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Steve Jobs, but lost to Swedish actress Alicia Vikander for her role in The Danish Girl. Brie Larson collected Best Actress for her performance in Room.

Mad Max: Fury Road had ten nominations and won six of them: Best Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. Ex Machina won the award for Best Visual Effects. Spotlight won the Best Picture award, and Sam Smith‘s song Writing’s on the Wall won Best Original Song for Spectre ahead of the Grammy-winning song Earned It by Canadian singer The Weeknd.



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  • “‘Earned It’ earns The Weeknd his first Grammy” — Wikinews, February 17, 2016

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February 2, 2016

ACE New York Annouced 49th Annual Film Winners

ACE New York Annouced 49th Annual Film Winners

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

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The Association of Latin Entertainment Critics announced in New York the 49th annual international film winners with a press release published at its official websites.

“Vestido de Novia” got Best Film prize, while Best Director was granted Arturo Sotto Díaz (Cuba), for “Boccaccerías habaneras”, both production being Cuban. In the category Best Documentary the winner is Artur Balder (United States), for his work as director and editor of “The reality of the imaginary” (also won Best Documentary from Latin ACE Awards past year for his film ‘Little Spain’), while Nitsy Grau is granted with the Opera Prima Award for her directing debut at the Ecuador-Hollland production “Medardo”.

The rest of the list grants actor Tenoch Huerta Mejía (Mexico) with Best Leading Actor award in ‘Days of grace’, while Best Supporting Actor is for Spanish actor Carlos Bardem, also for a role in the film ‘Days of grace’, a Mexican production. Best Leading Actress goes to Isabel Santos in recognition for her role in ‘Vestido de novia’, and Best Supporting Actress goes to Geraldine Chaplin for her role in ‘Sand Dollars‘, a film from the Dominican Republic.

The Film Commission granted two Special Distinctions; one for the film ‘Sand Dollars‘ from the Dominican Republic, selected to 88th Oscar Awards for Best Foreign Film competition, and another to actress Edna Lee Figueroa for her role at the Ecuadorian-Dutch film ‘Medardo’.



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  • “RTVE’s US correspondent gets condemnation for ‘false accusations and offensive insults'” — Wikinews, March 23, 2015

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Latin ACE Awards Annouced 49th Annual Film Winners

Latin ACE Awards Annouced 49th Annual Film Winners

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

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File:LatinACEAwardsLogo.jpg
Latin ACE Awards Logo

The Association of Latin Entertainment Critics announced in New York the 49th annual international film winners with a press release published at its official websites.

“Vestido de Novia” got Best Film prize, while Best Director was granted Arturo Sotto Díaz (Cuba), for “Boccaccerías habaneras”, both production being Cuban. In the category Best Documentary the winner is Artur Balder (United States), for his work as director and editor of “The reality of the imaginary” (also won Best Documentary from Latin ACE Awards past year for his film ‘Little Spain’), while Nitsy Grau is granted with the Opera Prima Award for her directing debut at the Ecuador-Hollland production “Medardo”.

The rest of the list grants actor Tenoch Huerta Mejía (Mexico) with Best Leading Actor award in ‘Days of grace’, while Best Supporting Actor is for Spanish actor Carlos Bardem, also for a role in the film ‘Days of grace’, a Mexican production. Best Leading Actress goes to Isabel Santos in recognition for her role in ‘Vestido de novia’, and Best Supporting Actress goes to Geraldine Chaplin for her role in ‘Sand Dollars‘, a film from the Dominican Republic.

The Film Commission granted two Special Distinctions; one for the film ‘Sand Dollars‘ from the Dominican Republic, selected to 88th Oscar Awards for Best Foreign Film competition, and another to actress Edna Lee Figueroa for her role at the Ecuadorian-Dutch film ‘Medardo’.



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  • “RTVE’s US correspondent gets condemnation for ‘false accusations and offensive insults'” — Wikinews, March 23, 2015

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June 13, 2015

English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93

English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

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Christopher Lee at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2013.
Image: Avda.

Famed English actor, singer and author Sir Christopher Lee died last Sunday morning in London aged 93, after being admitted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for heart failure and respiratory problems. News of his death only became public on Thursday, as his wife of 54 years, Birgit Krøncke Lee, wished first to inform friends and family.

A spokesman for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea confirmed the issuing of his death certificate.

Lee first rose to prominence in the 1950s starring in Hammer Horror films as the classic movie monsters Dracula and Frankenstein and was more recently seen as Saruman the White in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films as well as portraying the villainous Count Dooku in the Star Wars films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

In 2010 Lee released a heavy metal album titled Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross followed by another metal album in 2013, Charlemagne: The Omens of Death and several collections of Heavy Metal cover songs including A Heavy Metal Christmas, A Heavy Metal Christmas Too and Metal Knight.

In 2008 Lee was knighted for services to drama and charity, and in 2001 received a Bafta Fellowship.

Lee is survived by his wife Birgit and daughter Christina.



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March 16, 2015

The Wrecking Crew music documentary hits cinemas

The Wrecking Crew music documentary hits cinemas

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Monday, March 16, 2015

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Music documentary The Wrecking Crew received its commercial première Friday, screening in cinemas in Los Angeles and New York via Magnolia Pictures.

Two decades in the making, Denny Tedesco’s documentary observes and honours a group of session musicians collectively known as “The Wrecking Crew”. Tedesco explained he was moved to begin the documentary when he learned his father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, had cancer in 1996. “When they said he had a year to live — and I always wanted to do this story about The Wrecking Crew — my concern was, if I don’t do it, it’s going to be the biggest regret of my life”.

Tedesco commented on his anticipation of audiences’ reaction at Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, “People say, ‘aren’t you tired of watching it?’ I say, ‘I don’t watch it, I watch the crowd’.”

The documentary showcases interviews with the late Tommy Tedesco, guitarist Glen Campbell, drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, bassist Carol Kaye, and others, amongst the roughly 30 musicians that formed The Wrecking Crew’s loose roster. Cher, Nancy Sinatra, and Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys are also seen talking about the session artists.

The movie includes home footage of Tommy Tedesco, and photographs of The Wrecking Crew working in studios with artists Frank and Nancy Sinatra.

Originally completed in 2008, and screened at several festivals, the commercial release was delayed until recently as Tedesco needed to raise money to cover licensing costs of the one hundred and ten songs included in the film.

Tedesco explained: “We had a $750,000 bill before we could even release this film theatrically, so no-one was touching us. We still had this thing around our neck. Documentaries don’t sell, and music docs are the worst.” Tedesco described reaching out to sponsors to pay off publishers and labels to get the film into cinemas. “Every time I got money from a donation, I’d pay off a label or publisher.”

A Kickstarter campaign raised $300,000, which paid for licensing and session artists. Billboard reports the money was able to go towards the creation of outtakes for a future DVD. Tedesco said he wanted to keep outtakes of the interviews he conducted that didn’t make it into the movie. “I want to do outtakes of every musician, a lot of whom aren’t in the movie[…] Who are they? What did they do? I want to give everyone their say.”

The Wrecking Crew worked behind the scenes throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s with well-know bands and artists on memorable tracks such as Sonny and Cher, “I got you Babe”; Beach Boys, “California Girls”; Elvis Presley’s, “A Little Less Conversation”; and The Ronettes, “Be my Baby”.

Aside from the interviews, the documentary also includes footage of The Wrecking Crew, filmed by Hal Blaine. He dubbed himself a director as he joked around with the other musicians. “I had a camera, and I took it to work and I became a director of sorts. And I’d tell people like Tommy, ‘Hey, Tommy, do me a favour. I’m going to take a film of you. Just come walking into the studio, and all of a sudden pretend you’ve walked into a great big orgy going on here. There’s all these naked women and guys.’ And we’re laughing about it. I did that with Glenn Campbell, all the guys”, Blaine said.



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November 28, 2014

Manhattanʼs \’Little Spain\’ comes to big screen, documenting Hispanic immigration in New York City

Manhattanʼs ‘Little Spain’ comes to big screen, documenting Hispanic immigration in New York City

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Friday, November 28, 2014

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Art cover of 2014 DVD edition of the film Little Spain.

The Spanish Benevolent Society announced on Tuesday a DVD edition of the film Little Spain, directed by Artur Balder, is now available on their official website. The film, which summarizes a part of Hispanic immigration in the United States displaying the history of New York City (NYC), is based upon a set of old photographs and testimonies showing a neighborhood called Little Spain in Manhattan, situated at the West End of 14th Street, in the time when it was densely populated by Spaniards and Hispanic immigrants.

File photo of 14th Street from the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue looking west. New York City.
Image: Leif Knutsen.

According to the film’s content and press release, Little Spain was populated by Spaniards, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanic immigrants, located in south Chelsea and West Village, around the west end of 14th Street. The Spaniards tended to live in close proximity to one another; and, in many cases, in close proximity to Spanish-speakers from countries other than Spain — such as Puerto Ricans in New York.

In the film, the Spanish-American director and journalist Artur Balder traces the journey of those who left Spain and South America in search of a better life in the United States, describing the story of its most important entrance port, New York City, and the formation of the Little Spain community.

The 60 minute, feature-length, documentary looks back at the founding of La Nacional in 1868 and the uptick in migration from Spain following its loss of Cuba in 1898; continuing through to the Hispanic apex in the area, after the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939, finally charting the community’s sharp decline in the 1970s and 1980s.

Well into the 1960s Spanish was still commonly spoken on 14th Street. The film also displays footage of the Santiago Apóstol festival, or St. James Day festival, which died out in the early 1990s as the remnants of the Hispanic community left that part of the city.

Artur Balder worked closely with New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and with the Film Society of the Lincoln Center in order to show the film in NYC. He is currently preparing two new projects: The Reality of the Imaginary, with Nobel prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa, Cervantes literature award recipient José Manuel Caballero Bonald, and artist Joan Castejón, expected to premier at the MoMA in 2015. The second project being with Armenian–American painter Tigran Tsitoghdzyan and renowned art critic Donald Kuspit.

The film shows how Spain contributed to the vast wave of emigration of Europeans to the Americas which, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, transformed the three continents. The Spaniards were a very small proportion of US immigration compared to some of the other national or ethnic groups of immigrants that came to the United States, such as Italian, Irish, and Polish.



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November 7, 2014

Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming

Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming

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Friday, November 7, 2014 Albuquerque, New Mexico — Online entertainment is a booming market, and plenty of players are making their play; back in March of this year The Walt Disney Company bought the multi-channel network Maker Studios. What is web entertainment, and the arts therein? And, who are the people venturing into this field? Wikinews interviewed Mario Lucero and Isabel Ruiz, the founders of Heaven Sent Gaming, a small entertainment team. This group has been responsible for several publications, within several different media formats; one successful example was aywv, a gaming news website, which was #1 in Gaming on YouTube in 2009, from September to November; Heaven Sent Gaming was also the subject of a referential book, released in 2014, entitled Internet Legends – Heaven Sent Gaming.

Heaven Sent Gaming logo

Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz

General questions

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is Heaven Sent Gaming?

Mario J. Lucero: Heaven Sent Gaming is basically me and Isabel, I’m Mario J. Lucero.
Isabel Ruiz: And, I’m Isabel Ruiz.
Mario: And, together we formed this thing, it’s sort of like an entertainment team. We stated it basically, because I wanted to — I wanted to work with Isabel on a lot of projects that we had going on together. We were coming with comics, like, left and right, we were coming up with things like Karis, in high school she came up with that one, I came up with an individual story called Thad’s World Destruction and, she wanted to illustrate it, and so, that’s the way we ended up doing it.
Isabel: Yep, we like to just make our own original content, and, yep, that’s what we wanted to do.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How did you two meet?

Isabel: We met back in high school. In this private, tiny-tiny private school of 50 students. But, before hand in middle school, I kept on hearing about this guy named Mario, and he kept on hearing about me, this girl named Isabel. And, everyone, all of our friends and all of our acquaintances would say, “Hey, you’d get along with him really well.” So before hand I kinda knew about him, but I never met him. And one of our friends, our common friends, he introduced us during study hall, and we just kind of hit it off from there.
Mario: It’s true.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Who else is involved in this project?

Isabel: Currently, we’re in talks with people. There’s Jeff [Drake], who is behind the camera.
Mario: Right now, yeah, he’s helping us right now. We’re talking about doing some individual web series, video series. Josh Kindig, he’s coming on board, he has some ideas for that too, he wants to take over “aywv” and do more gaming news.
Isabel: There’s of course Jason, who is our editor and he’s the one who writes dD.
Mario: Digital Domain

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your purpose behind this venture?

Mario: Well, back in college, back in Collins College, Isabel and I, we had met like she said at Sandia View Academy, and we went off to college together in Arizona; and… (how do I best explain this?) Basically, she came up with a few class projects, and I came up with a few class projects; we started working with a few of our friends, and colleagues and whatnot. Those included Drew Cass, Devin Thurlow, people like that. She had several ideas, and she used to draw a lot in the sketchbook, she used to have this thick sketchbook that she used to carry around with her everywhere, where she’d draw these different characters and whatnot; and she was always really shy to show that off to people, and I wanted to help her show that stuff, and I wanted to bring it out to the world. I was a writer, and she always liked my writings, so I was like, let’s just get both of our things together, and let’s get this done.
Isabel: And for me, what I want the purpose to be, is to inspire people. To bring a little more light to the world is what I want, out of all of this.
Mario: And what was the verse that we have? First Corinthians [garbled; ed. note: cf. 1Cor.4:5]?
Isabel: Yes.
Mario: Yeah, exactly. We just want to be able to bring, like she said, bring light into the entertainment and into the media industry, specifically is what we do.
Isabel: Yeah.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How do professionals gauge your market?

Mario: That’s a really crazy question. Depends on which market you’re talking about. Because Heaven Sent Gaming kind of fits into two categories; it’s a new media thing, which I don’t like the term “new media”, and it’s a Christian venture, and in both respects with “new media”, in particular, whenever a new format comes into being it’s hard to gauge what celebrities, and what people, and and what companies are doing things to really shake up things, and really bring new things to the table. And, when you have something like, Rooster Teeth for example; Rooster Teeth is a really great example of a really successful company in new media. They’ve be able to shape a relatively small series, like “Red vs. Blue“, into an entire multimedia enterprise. They’ve been able to make things like Strangerhood, and things even bigger like RWBY. And They’re even getting that translated into Japanese now, so they’ve spun that into an entire multimedia conglomerate. And, that has to do with other aspects of media […] like The Young Turks and Cenk Uygur and all them. They formatted and created a way for this to become monetized, for you to be able to release things on your own and make it into something special and unique. And then, let’s see, other people that are up there. Like, Alex Jones is a good example of the two, Alex Jones is a person who shaped something up like that, in the same way that The Young Turks did, where it’s about news and media but he did his own thing, and with the help of the internet, which is was “new media” usually refers to nowadays, internet media has been booming because of people like him; they built a whole system around it, and that’s fascinating. But on the other side, if you’re talking about Christian media, I don’t know which your referring to, with Christian media it’s a little bit more difficult to gauge the Christian media market, because it’s a niche market, and you have things that are extremely successful like Big Idea Productions which became huge off of VeggieTales, and it’s now owned by Dreamworks. I know Phil Vischer isn’t even a part of Big Idea very anymore, he just does the voice for Bob […] and Pa Grape.
Isabel: He’s doing his own thing, right now, to explain more about the Biblical stories and Biblical aspects of it.
Mario: What’s in the Bible? And then also he does that podcast.
Isabel: With new media, there are so many things that you can do. And that’s what makes it very difficult to gauge. I feel like it kind of depends on each person, as to what they want to do with it.
Mario: Right, and the greatest thing with the internet, it’s kind of like the way radio was back in the day, where you have a lot of different voice comin’ up, you can hear a lot of different opinions, a lot of different sides to things that you wouldn’t normally [have] heard. It’s kind of like an unfiltered version of the world, in a sense, and you can get different opinions and things like that. And, that’s really good, and I think that’s going to be really good for media. And, I think it’s going to be really bad for older media, which is where you do get the “new media”, which is why I don’t like it, ’cause I think media is just evolving, just like any other form of art, or entertainment, or anything like that; media just slowly evolves, and I think this is just the next evolutionary step in it.
Isabel: I think it’s just changing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How much money does this generate?

Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: None, right, none.
Mario: Zero, cero, none.
Isabel: None right now. We all have our own jobs, to make money and make sure that we can have some equipment.
Mario: Making ends meet.
Isabel: Making ends meet. But right now, it’s none, and right now that’s not something that really concerns us. We are looking more into making this a proper business, and making this have money so that we can do this full time. It’s very frustrating to me that I do have to go to work, and often in the middle of work I have this awesome idea, and I just want to sit down and draw, but that’s not possible. But right now, that’s fine.
Mario: This goes back to the prior topic, […] they were talking about new media. Because, with new media, usually […] when you’re a start-up, you do this purely for the art, for the entertainment, you do it for the joy of it. And you do it to express yourself. And you hope that this can generate money for you, but it’s not the main priority of it. The main priority of it is to create something unique, to express yourself in some way, and that’s the most important aspect of it. Money is a driving force, obviously, of everything in our daily lives, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. And new media entrepreneurs usually tend to show that.
Isabel: Like me personally, I always feel like money is just a tool, and it’s just something to be able to get what you need or want to get.
Mario: What I was gonna say though, is that, you have people like — Toby Turner, at first he didn’t make any money off of it. But he did a lot of really cool things, and people eventually hooked onto him, and then it became a media empire for him. Which is good.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What major hurdles have you overcome related to Heaven Sent Gaming, or life in general?

Isabel: With life hurdles, in particular with Heaven Sent Gaming. As a lot of people know, when we started up a lot of Heaven Sent Gaming, like the first few years, we were taking care of his (Mario’s) grandparents, they were suffering through dementia at the time. And it got progressively worse and worse, and that’s one of the reasons why updates and things like that have been pretty sporadic. And then this year and last year was really hard on us, we were kind of homeless for a while.
Mario: That was the end of last year. Don’t say “homeless”, say “destitute”.
Isabel: “Destitute”. That’s the word I was looking for, we were destitute for a while, and it was pretty hard. And this year it’s been more like picking up everything, picking up the pieces, where we have left off.
Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Really.
Mario and Isabel: Yeah.
Isabel: And then also, of course, finding creative people who want to help out with this.
Mario: Which is how were going to turn this into a business, which is how were going to turn this into a money making venture. For example, Jeff who is handling the camera during this interview, we have a lot of good ideas for some video series. And they’re going to be really entertaining, and we really want to bring it out to our fans and to the people that follow us, and we hope you’ll stick around for that. That’d be good.
Isabel: And, I cannot express my thanks to our fans enough, they are absolutely great and amazing people. So yep!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Is there freedom in […] publishing your own work, or do you find it more difficult?

Isabel: This is kind of a give and take, it’s a mixture of both. There is definitely a lot more freedom in publishing our own work, because, in the end of the day, we get to say what we want to actually go out there, […] to say, what we want to say, the message that we want to put forth. But, in that, at the beginning, you have no platform, you have no way to actually put that forth in a sense. So you have to build the stage […] you’re going to perform on. And, that’s definitely hard, that’s definitely a big hurdle.
Mario: You have to build your own platform. That’s exactly it. But at the same time, like you said there’s those ups and downs, with self-publishing — it’s just different. They’re both very different. For example, I’ve worked with bigger clients, I’ve working with people, and I’ve had deadlines, I’ve had to do all those things, right. It just feels different. Even though you have more freedom, like she said, you have to build your own platform. If you work with a big client, you have the ability to have their equipment, their resources, all that. When your a start-up — you are a newb!
Isabel: Just getting everything right. You have to be creative to figure out what to do.
Mario: Newb.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: Me personally, I prefer to have the freedom of being able to say, because eventually you will have all the resources, and I think that’s the big difference.

Influences

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What does your family do?

Isabel: So, both of my parents are teachers. My mom is an elementary school teacher, and my dad is a high school teacher.
Mario: And, my grandfather — [laughs] yeah, mine’s a long answer. My grandfather, Joe M. Lucero, Jose Mariano Lucero, he was a trucker for 30 years with Consolidated Freightways. My grandmother was a homemaker, my Nana, her name was Antonia Lucero. My mother [Cathleen Lucero] is a, she’s worked a lot of different jobs, she’s a working class woman. And my father is Horacio Pargas, and […]
Isabel: He was a cowboy.
Mario: He was a cowboy. And, yeah. I was always really proud of that, that’s awesome. He drove pick-up trucks, cowboy hats, all that, whole nine yards, y todo.
Isabel: And now he’s a factory worker, right?
Mario: He is a factory worker, that’s correct. You missed out on one factoid about your mother.
Isabel: What’s that?
Mario: She has a masters degree!
Isabel: Yeah! Oh yeah, she has a masters degree, I’m very proud of her. Before that she was a working class woman as well, she mainly did a lot of maid jobs, so I got to see a whole bunch of fancy people’s fancy houses. […] And before my father became a teacher, he was a small business owner, he did windshields for cars and would replace them, and go to wherever you were at and did that. They both decided “let’s go to college”, my mom got her master’s degree, and my dad got his bachelor’s, and now they’re teachers.
Mario: With Albuquerque Public Schools systems, fancy.
Isabel: With APS.
Mario: [in a western accent] That’s what our families done did.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Which creative individuals do you admire?

Isabel: Disney, for sure, of course, Miyazaki of course. I watched a lot of Anime, that needs its own little section there. […] Charles Schultz, of course.
Mario: Which Anime artist do you enjoy? Which Manga artist do you enjoy?
Isabel: Ken Akamatsu, for one.
Mario: What about your love for Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings.
Isabel: There’s J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, John Green, so many, there’s probably too many.
Mario: Tony Hawk.
Isabel: No, that’s you. [laughs]
Mario: Whoops, for me it’s probably the people she said, and, who else, I said Tony Hawk, he’s like a sportsman though.
Isabel: Yeah, that’s not really creative…
Mario: Emmit Smith.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: Just start naming sportspeople.
Mario: Johnny Cash, obviously, all black everything, she had to match her attire to me.
Isabel: No… well.
Mario: It’s slightly there, it’s silver buttons and black blackness.
Isabel: I got silver sparkles, yay.
Mario: Beautiful.
Isabel: Elvis Presley for you.
Mario: Mm-hmm.
Isabel: Michael Jackson.
Mario: I was gonna do that, but my voice will pop.
Isabel: Stan Lee.
Mario: Stan Lee, yes.
Isabel: Steve Jobs.
Mario: Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur.
Isabel: But, he was creative too.
Mario: That’s the next question.
Isabel: He was, like, both.
Mario: We skipped ahead, let’s go to the next question.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Which entrepreneurs do you admire?

Mario: Steve Jobs, as was previously stated. Magic Johnson.
Isabel: Magic Johnson’s a big one for me. Would CLAMP be consider to be entrepreneurs? They’re like a mixture too.
Mario: They’re mangaka.
Isabel: Yes, but, they’re like the reason why women being mangaka is accepted, and a popular thing now too.
Mario: Popular.
Isabel: Very important to me, at least.
Mario: Fancy.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Why should individuals spend time ingesting your content?

Mario: Because they’re hungry.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: Because, our content, a lot of it is just things that we want to see, and what we want to do. How do I explain? It’s just things we like.
Mario: I write books I want to read. I make comics I would like to see. I, like, make movies that I want to watch. I make music that I would listen to. And, I make shoes that I would wear — I don’t make shoes — not yet, give it time.
Isabel: Our fans now that, it’s good, it’s not, like, trashy and all that stuff. Things that out there now these days, we want to make good entertainment.
Mario: Wholesome entertainment.
Isabel: Wholesome entertainment. [laughs]

Religion

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png As demonstrated in your logo, you publicly adhere to Christianity, are you afraid of alienating your audience?

Mario: Not really.
Isabel: No, we’re not, because, in a sense, if they feel alienated by that, we’re glad we didn’t waste their time with it.
Mario: Exactly, that’s what I’ve always said. If that turns them off right away, and they see that, and they don’t want to deal with that kind of thing, then I’m glad I turned them away when I did. So that way they don’t have to waste their time on me. Which is good. And plus, it’s not like it’s a form of religion, I’m using it more for my own identity, and it’s a part of me, and I’m using Heaven Sent Gaming as an artistic medium, so regardless, it’s going to enter into it, because it’s a part of me. And I’m going to be putting a lot of what I am into it. And I’m not doing it to cram religion down people’s throats. Like, Jason, our editor, he’s an atheist and I have no problem with that, he agrees with out stance in bringing light into media, and that’s all that matters.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png How important is being a Christian to your projects, and how does it affect your team?

Isabel: Being a Christian is really big to both of us, being in a religion, Christian mainly, has always been a big part of my life, it’s been a big part of Mario’s life. In the fact that we want to bring light into media, we always keep that into mind, as to whatever projects that we make up, how we take them, and just the message of love and goodness that still exists in the world, is very important to us.
Mario: It is important, and you were raised Adventist, Seventh Day Adventist. And I was raised Catholic, my grandparents were Catholic, my mother’s a Catholic.
Isabel: I believe they ask that later, the theological background.
Mario: My theological background? No, the theological background is different. I’m not theologically a Catholic, I’m not theologically a Buddhist either. But, I am a theological scholar of Buddhism, weirdly enough. That’s weird.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Mario: Point is, religion and spirituality are very important to us.
Isabel: We feel like acting like a Christian, following the steps of Christ, is much more important that following a doctrine. Which is the reason why we’re okay with Jason being an atheist, and if anyone else who comes to be a Muslim or anything like that, it’s perfectly fine.
Mario: Especially if their goals […] they want to bring light into the world; which is the important thing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Why is it important for Christianity to be prominent in your work?

Mario: It all goes hand-in-hand, which is why we’ve given a lot of thought to religion and spiritual questions, before, because we know that it can alienate people. We know that it can cause people to not want to look at something, because it’s religious.
Isabel: And, I personally understand that because, a lot of my childhood I got bullied by a lot of people who would go around saying that, “Oh, I’m Chirstian”. When you have these kind of people, who are saying, “Yes, I am Christian, I am supposed to love my fellow neighbor”, but then they turn around and they do something that’s horrible to another person. To everyone else they see, “Well, what is up with this, who are these people really? Obviously, they’re awful people, they’re hypocrites at that too.” And that’s really sad, but —
Mario: It’s the truth.
Isabel: — it’s the truth.
Mario: And, with religion and spirituality being prominent in our work, […] it’s good to get it in there because it’s a representation of ourselves, we’re putting ourselves into this work. And it shows. And that’s an important factor in, I think, the arts in general.

Media-related questions

Comics

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What caused you to start creating web comics?

Isabel: This starts out with Reverie. […] We sent them out to get published, by an actual publisher.
Mario: Syndicate. United Feature.
Isabel: Yes, United Feature! Thank you. United Feature Syndicate, they responded to us, and they said, “well, this is really good, but honestly we feel like it would be better if you just did this yourself.” So, we did.
Mario: It was good advice actually, I felt good about that.
Isabel: At the time we were like, “oh, rejection”, but then, “maybe we should just do that.” And we did that.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What inspired each of your individual series?

Isabel: That’s a long question.
Mario: That’s a big question.
Mario and Isabel: Reverie.
Isabel: My parents live in a two-story house. And, on the top-story, in one of the bedrooms, they have wooden paneling. And, Mario saw this face in the wood paneling, and he decided to crudely sketch it, draw it. At the time, I was going through a few things, so it was kinda designed for me to easily make a comic. That’s where Reverie comes from.
Isabel: Karis, is an old, old high school comic that I started way back in the day, but, it’s very different, back then she was in high school, and now she’s in college. I’d show it to Mario and our little group of friends, Byron and Kevin, and, they like it, so.
Mario: Byron Alvarez, and Kevin Garner.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: BladeChick and Mouton, they were both kind of thought up at the same time, and we just wanted like a superhero, kind of more funny and more ridiculous comic than TWD, Karis, or Reverie. Because there’s Reverie which is comedy Sunday happy-go-lucky, and then TWD and Karis that get really heavy and serious, so we wanted something a little bit more funny.
Mario: Did you go over TWD? Can I go over TWD? TWD is a slightly autobiographical comic, it’s a manga-style comic and it details the life of Byron, Kevin, Mario, and Isabel and Art. They’re all based on real people, but it’s a heavily fictionalized universe, like Byron is based on that kid Byron Alvarez who’s not a kid no more, he’s a man. Mario is based on this kid named Mario Lucero, which is me sometimes, most the time, all the times. And there’s Kevin who is based on Kevin Garner, and Isabel who is based on — Catalina Fernando?
Isabel: Yeah, that’s it.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Mario: Isabel Ruiz. And, yeah, but it’s a slightly autobiographical take on our lives, but it’s told in the anime, manga, style because a lot of the events that happened in our high school were very manga-esque. And we read a lot of manga in high school.
Isabel: I read it.
Mario: It was your fault.
Isabel: It’s just a crazier, zanier version of our lives. And then, Koki’o Shade and Monkey? You do that one.
Mario: I love that. Barack Obama and George W. Bush as samurai and a ninja.
Isabel: He did this whole thing, he always says this, with, “What if this would happen? What if this would happen? What if this…” So he would always ask, like, “What do you think the President is doing? What if the President was…” And it just kind of came from that.
Mario: I always do that, ever since 2006, when Bush was in office, and now Obama’s in office. I always ask, like, “Do you think President Obama eats Chicken McNuggets?” And, I do that randomly. “Do you think George W. Bush ever sits down and thinks, ‘Man, I want a root beer’?”
Isabel: I’m sure he does.
Mario: Does he? But, I ask it, like, philosophically.
Isabel: That’s where that came from.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Do you have a set plan for where these comics are going?

Mario: We have them all laid out.
Isabel: We do.
Mario: We have an entire story-line written out, we have about thirty different branches they can take so, like, if the story ever, like, leaks, which if it leaks, it leaks, whatever; we have like thirty different options afterwards, so we’re just like, well, okay.
Isabel: The only one that doesn’t follow that format is Reverie. There will be smaller arcs.
Mario: Itty-bitty arcs. Baby arcs. Wait, we forgot to mention one. Jinn.
Isabel: Jinn has really been a thing, but back tracking, where Jinn comes from, I was reading One Thousand and One Nights, and watching a lot of Pokemon, playing a lot of Pokemon, and it just came kind of like that, whole.
Mario: Togetherness. We don’t have a lot of it written, but we do have a set plan for it. It’s gonna be like a monster hunter, thing. It’s gonna be really cool. X-Arielle, a famous deviant-artist. [Mario then proceeded to purposefully mispronounce things]
Isabel: Are you going to stop?
Mario: No.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: She helped us with the cover page, and the first comic. She’s awesome. She’s a great artist.
Mario: She’s talented.
Isabel: Very talented. But, everything, yes, is on a set path, except for Reverie.

Games

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What has your experience been in the game industry?

Mario: I like video games, [garbled].
Isabel: That’s not the answer.
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Mario: “Balance” [purposefully mispronounced twice]
Mario and Isabel: [laughter]
Isabel: Back in college, we developed a video game that, we hope, will eventually come into fruition when we find that “good programmer”. It was basically like a rock-paper-scissors, but with…
Mario: …elements. But it was cooler, and we had a big game-doc written. We did do a prototype of it.
Isabel: I did a prototype of it, because somehow it managed to pop up in my class before theirs. Where we had to do this whole game prototype, and it was crazy.
Mario: She did it, it was called Balance, and I’ve always wanted to be a game designer, it’s been my life dream.
Isabel: I’ve just always played video games, ever since I was small.
Mario: My first video game was Super Mario Bros. for the N.E.S.
Isabel: I don’t remember what my first video game was. I think it might have been Yoshi’s Island, where my brothers let me play it, kind of by myself. But beforehand, they would never let me play. Yeah, I’m blaming you brothers. But they’d let me play with the controller whilst it was on pause.
Mario: I did the same thing to my sister, until she was three, and then I let her play the game.
Isabel: [laughs] Yeah, that’s more-or-less the same story.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Why did you include “Gaming” in your name?

Isabel: Originally Heaven Sent Gaming started when we were in college, it was part of a bigger team called Our Own Little Coup, and that was with Drew Cass, Devin Thurlow, Jason Waggoner, Clifton Strang, and James West, and that’s about it, right?
Mario: Si.
Isabel: Heaven Sent Gaming was me-and-him, on what we did. Devin Thurlow, and Jason Waggoner, and Drew Cass, and all them; we’d be working with each other on what ever projects college demanded from us. So, it just kinda came from that.
Mario: And then the fact that Gaming is a big part of our identity. Yet again, like with the logo — with the cross being in the logo — and “Heaven” being in the name. It’s supposed to be, like, “Hey, this is us.”
Isabel: We were just originally going to be a game development thing, but then our professors did say, “Hey, you should probably do this on your own.”
Mario: “Do a business.” […] This should be a thing.

Music

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your favorite aspect of music production?

Mario: Mixing and mastering. I love mixing and mastering. I am very interested in country music, but I’m mostly a person that likes to mix and master audio. I love it. I love the process of doing it. I released one single, “Intro, Yo”; I think I released another one, “Meerkat”, right?
Isabel: Yeah, who knows where that is.
Mario: That’s lost to the annals of time.
Isabel: I like, more, being in the studio, and watching all the bits and pieces come together.
Mario: You like to be a gawk-er.
Isabel: I like to be the gawk-er, I’m the one who usually manages, and sees how that comes together.
Mario: Yeah, I actually go to her, like, “How’s this sound? How’s this sound? What’s this sound like?” It’s the same guitar riff, just a slightly different treble.
Isabel: And, I’m just like, it sounds kinda the same…
Mario: How about now, on bass now.
Isabel: Okay, yeah I hear that…
Mario: It’s crazy different.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What is your musical background?

Mario: When I was young, I really started to like country music because this mix-tape that my Uncle Dennis got me, it was a “Brooks and Dunn” mix-tape. It was like the best thing ever, because I listened to it over-and-over, and I started singing, and I apparently sound like that.
Isabel: I know that your family, at every single party, they listened to a lot of country, and ranchero.
Mario: Ranchera, it’s female.
Isabel: New Mexican music. And then, for me, I’ve always been in choir, when I was little. Because in church, it’s kind of a big thing if you’re able to sing, or what not. I was always in choir, just basically from first grade to tenth.
Mario: When I was in choir, cause I was in the same choir class that she was. Mrs. Hargrove, our teacher, she wanted me to sing in the front, because she said that I sound just like Johnny Cash, so I was like, whoa, I don’t think I do, ’cause I was a teenager, and I was nervous about everything, I was like “No, no.”

Novels

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Do you have formal training in writing?

Mario: I have had some formal training in writing.
Isabel: No, not me. Minus, of course, basic high school education; but other than that.
Mario: That was good though, you were in private school.
Isabel: I was in private, so I know it was a bit better, than a lot of other people.
Mario: Yes, I took writing courses in college, and I’ve gone through the MLA Handbook, I’ve gone through all those things. Yep, I have formal training. Very formal; I had a suit on and everything. And shoes.
Isabel: Do you have shoes on now?
Mario: Nope, barefoot.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Do you publish directly, or is there an editing process involved?

Mario: There is an editing process involved with Jason Waggoner.
Isabel: Beforehand, before Jason, there actually wasn’t. We would just publish directly,
Mario: It was terrible.
Isabel: and then, I would look it over, kind of. Well he would be like, “Read it out loud, and look it over”, and that’s was I would do. That was pretty much as far as the editing process goes, back then.
Mario: It was pro. There were commas everywhere.
Isabel: Everywhere!
Mario: Commas where commas didn’t belong, it was a beautiful comma wasteland.

Video

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Who’s involved in the video process?

Isabel: Right now, Jeff who’s behind the camera. Beforehand it was just Mario shooting his vlogs, and we would do all of our let’s plays.
Mario: Let’s plays! “Hello, I’m Mario.”
Isabel: “And I’m Isabel.” [laughter] Yep, that was more-or-less it.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png It’s publicly known that you had your Google AdSense account on YouTube shut down, how did that affect your video aspirations?

Isabel: With the Google AdSense thing, that came at a very bad time in our lives. Because, it was at this turning point, with his grandparents. They had dementia. There’s a certain point where they’re getting lost, but then it seems to happen overnight where it just gets really really bad, they’re constantly confused and scared, it’s really awful. We were around that turning point, and we were doing all of this, his vlogs, our let’s plays.
Mario: It was starting to make money for us, then Google shut it down, and then I just decided that I needed to focus on my grandparents. I dropped everything. My grandparents raised me when I was going through middle school and high school. They mean a lot to me, they always will. [pause] I can I best put this, I want to consistently and openly say that I am in full support of neuroscience research, and these kinds of things. Because, it’s a very bad thing, to have to see someone go through something like that. I forget which celebrity it was, recently, went in front of a congressional panel, was it Seth Rogen?
Isabel: Yes.
Mario: And, he discussed dementia, and it felt so good to see someone who understood, because it’s a scary thing. Most people think it’s just where you get lost, and you don’t know what you’re doing.
Isabel: Or, just sitting and staring at a wall.
Mario: It’s where you see someone who is, like with me, I saw someone who was the most powerful, strong person, my grandfather.
Isabel: And, your Nana.
Mario: That’s what I was going to go into next. But with my grandpa, he was a strong masculine influence in my life, and he was scared and didn’t know where he was going. In fact one time, he told me, “Mijito, I don’t know where I am. Please, help me.” And that was, what, four years ago? Three, two years? I forgot how long ago it was. It was scary. It’s a scary thing to see. And my Nana, she was such a compassionate person, and here she was scared.
Isabel: Compassionate, and strong….
Mario: Stoic.
Isabel: Stoic. But she was very scared, she would cry a lot. It was very hard, when they did that to us, it was…
Mario: Well, when Google shut down the AdSense account. It was right at that turning point. So we just gave up on all those things, because we knew we needed to take care of them.
Mario and Isabel remarked further on lessons from the AdSense incident in their post-interview notes, linked below. They also noted Seth Rogen spoke at a Senate committee rather than a congressional panel; Rogen’s opening statements are available at C-SPAN.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Is the creative process for web video creation impacted by external influences outside the company?

Mario: Oh. Josh Kindig, one of the people we’re starting to work with, he pointed out what this one meant, to me. I didn’t actually know what this question meant. I was like “What do you mean? If I see a bird, do I film it?” [laughter] I was like, “Yes. Of course, I film everything.” But no. I think it’s in reference to the recent scandal that happened over at Kotaku. [purposefully mispronounces several different ways]
Isabel: Whether or not we have other places saying, “Hey we want you…”
Mario: To do this. if you do this.”
Mario and Isabel: No.
Mario: We’re a Christian organization. That would be immoral, and we would not do that. Even if someone was like, “Hey, here’s a thousand dollars to review our product.” I’ll still say if it’s a shit product. Sorry.
Isabel: Yeah, it’s like, okay, well, just so you know, this is going to be an honest opinion.
Mario: Though, I am still gonna say, and I will also disclose upfront, “Hey, they gave me money for this.”
Isabel: “So please be wary[?] on what we’re saying.”
Mario: If that ever happens. I don’t know, full disclosure, man. There’s nothing immoral about being paid to do a review. It’s just that, you should disclose if that’s occurring.
The “scandal that happened over at Kotaku”, referred to in this question and answer, is more broadly known as the Gamergate controversy.

Web

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png The two projects listed as “web” on your website, are a gaming news site and a Bible translation, are two broadly different creative endeavors. Why are they grouped in the same media format on your site? And, isn’t your site, itself, a “web” project?

Mario: Everything is a web project. No.
Isabel: No, the web thing, you want to have more like…
Mario: multimedia things.
Isabel: …multimedia and more of a community involvement with it.
Mario: Well, it’s just broader, it’s broader in scope. Like the Bible translation, it’s going to eventually evolve into a Bible reading, and then a Bible study, and then it’s going to have individual notes on each Bible verse, and things like that. aywv’s gonna spin off into podcasts, and all kinds of things underneath it. It’s gonna be a multi-layered thing. So “web projects” is kind of like a broader term for various things. And, yes, the website is also a web project, I think of it like a magazine, where you find all the things we’re making. So yeah, that’s actually very astute.
Isabel: I feel like there’s more of a community involvement with it as well. Because, with Heaven Sent Gaming, it’s us making the content, and then you see it, and you ingest it, and that’s great. And then there’s going to be aywv, which will hopefully have forums, and more people being involved, as to what they think and do.
Mario and Isabel: What they feel.

Closing questions

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on the book that was written about you? And, how accurate is it?

Isabel: We did read it, and, yeah, it’s pretty accurate.
Mario: It’s just fact, just basic facts, I was expecting to have something where they were just wrong. But it’s like, they’re not wrong, they just don’t understand the subject fully. Which is fair, since we don’t talk often. This is like the longest interview we’ve ever done. It was accurate because it was just factoids.
Isabel: They say from the book, they got it all from public records.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png According to the Bitcoin wiki, you are considered a proponent of Bitcoin. If that’s true, how important is decentralization to you?

Mario: Decentralization is important to us, which is part of why we’re here in Albuquerque, and not in California. I want to be able to exemplify how good new media is, “new media”.
Isabel: Decentralization is important to us, because of our location as well. And I also feel like in a capitalistic society, checks and balances happen when there is competition. And with the recent recession and all that stuff, I feel like a lot of the reason why it happened, is because there isn’t multiple ways for people to have things, have money, have whatever that they want. So we’ve always been a big…
Mario: Bitcoin proponent. Ever since 2009 I think, I put it on the site.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Being headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, isn’t exactly conducive to your field. Wouldn’t it be more convenient to be located in Los Angeles, California, or even the relatively nearby Austin, Texas?

Isabel: First of all, this is, mine and Mario’s home.
Mario: I love Albuquerque.
Isabel: That’s very important to us, I was born and raised here, he was born and raised here.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Thank you for answering the questions, and I wish you luck on your future endeavors.

Mario and Isabel: Thank you.
Mario: I would like to add one more thing. I want to talk about dementia again, and that neuroscience is very important to me because, my grandfather used to go out for walks every morning, used to eat organic, he used to be one of those crazy people that thought the fluoride in the water would kill you, and I’m one of those people as well because of him. I really look up to him, he was a strong person, and we didn’t have a genetic background for this. Dementia is a scary thing, and it’s something that we need to take care of.
Isabel: The most defined feature of a human being is their brain the fact that we know so little about it, and the fact that we don’t take care of it, is very concerning.



Sources

Wikinews
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

External links

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October 23, 2014

Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film \’Sledge\’

Wikinews interviews Kristian Hanson, producer-director of indie horror film ‘Sledge’

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File image of a sledge hammer.
Image: Markscheider.

Just days away from Halloween, Wikinews interviewed Kristian Hanson, producer-director of independent slasher film Sledge. The film has been a recent source of discussion in horror fan circles, primarily due to its production budget of only US$800. Sledge is Hanson’s fourth film to direct, according to Internet Movie Database.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How did you come up with the idea for Sledge?

Kristian Hanson: Sledge came to me while driving home from my brother’s wedding with my wife. She told me that I know slashers better than most and I could come up with something fun and unique, and that is exactly what I did with Adam Lynch and the film Sledge.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWhat kind of pre-production work did the film require?

KH: Pre-Production involved John putting in some ads in the local newspaper and seeing if anyone would be interested in auditioning for the film. Planning the death scenes and figuring out what we could do without a budget and without anyone skilled in the ways of Special Effects.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow did you set up auditions? How many days did you spend auditioning people?

KH: Auditions were held a month before filming and that is where Stephanie Tupper came to be involved with the film. Everyone else was a friend of John’s and Dustin (Alex in the film) showed up by reading about the movie in the local Potsdam Newspaper. Without him, Sledge wouldn’t be what it is today.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How many days went into filming?

KH: Four days went in to filming all of the Adam Lynch and camp site stuff. The Amish Paradise trailer and also the Couch girl [character] segments were also a different day, so a total of six. I could say that [the] Assly [character] was an extra day, but I literally threw up my green screen and hit record on both the intro and outro, so an extra five minutes doesn’t count in my eyes.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png You’ve said elsewhere that the production budget was about $800. What were some of the items/services that required buying/payment?

KH: The foam prop Sledge hammer, fake intestines, fake knives, [character] Adam Lynch’s clothes, teeth, contact lenses, the latex for the mask and creating the blood is where all of the money went to. Also buying hot dogs, hamburgers for the small crew. Again we didn’t have a set budget, this was kind of us just throwing our money out there to make this movie happen. We didn’t have a sheet with expenses etc.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What else have you directed? (…and what about your co-director??)

KH: John and I both co-directed the film we made back in April 2012 (a few months before Sledge) titled F4L:Friends 4 Life, but that film has not been released and to be honest, I doubt it ever will be. It was a learning experience for us and has a lot of humor, but not knowing about copyrights etc, I doubt we would ever be able to release it. I would love to remake it in the future though where I could build up the original ending and keep the same script.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How old are you?

KH: I am a whopping 30 years old.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you study film in college or have any other formal film-related education?

KH: When I was in college I took a semester of improv classes but I never went to school for film, and neither has John. He is the camera man and director of photography and is all self taught. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and will have a Master’s Degree in Global Terrorism this upcoming March. So when it comes to film, nope, I am self taught in regards to writing and directing.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngWho made the mask? [worn by the killer]

KH: My friend Monster Matt Patterson made the mask. I emailed him after writing the Sledge script and told him the basic idea and he just ran with it. He did an amazing job.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did you do any location scouting before shooting?

KH: John and Russ (Nash in the film) went around [scouting] but to be honest, Russ’s dad owned the land where we filmed 90% of the movie. Adam’s ‘Stabbin Cabin’ [belongs to] a friend of John’s and that is where we ended up filming that area. We had the entire film figured out before we went to shoot thanks to the people that were there to allow us to use their land.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Did the movie appear in any large-scale venues (cinemas, festivals etc.)?

KH: The film played at the Twisted Tails Film Festival in Dallas, Texas, The Action on Film Festival in Monrovia, California, along with the Indie Fest where it won an Award for Merit in film making. We also had a screening in Los Angeles for fans where we had two-hundred people turn up back in June of 2013, which was surprising and just plain awesome.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png How many days did you spend editing?

KH: Editing took a long time. John spent night after night in his basement cutting and editing Sledge. It took three to four months […] I believe, and thankfully Eric Xton of ScarCrow and God in the Machine allowed us to use his music throughout Sledge. Without that music, the film would not be what it is today, so a huge thank you to them.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Is the movie available via VOD ?

KH: Yes, Sledge is available on iTunes, Google Play, Playstation Network, Xbox Network and a bunch of other VOD providers, but I do not have a solid list [apart] from the main ones I named.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png What’s in store for the sequel??

KH: In the sequel the movie jumps off where the last one ended but two weeks later. We make fun of the fact that this is a small town and in horror films it seems like everyone is a super-model or extremely super good looking. Adam Lynch has a lot more fun and a lot more deaths are planned that we intend to show this time. SledgeD will be just as fun as the first, with another group of people sitting down to watch Assly and another funny trailer for a made-up movie. All in all, it will be a lot of fun, with plenty of blood, horrible jokes and Sledging to go around.



Sources

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August 12, 2014

Actor and comic Robin Williams found dead at 63

Actor and comic Robin Williams found dead at 63

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams at the premier of Happy Feet Two in 2011.
Image: Eva Rinaldi.

Obituaries
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  • 13 June 2015: English actor Christopher Lee dies aged 93
  • 10 June 2015: Boxing referee Frank Cappuccino dies aged 86
  • 5 June 2015: Australian businessman Alan Bond dies aged 77
  • 4 June 2015: Charles Kennedy, former Liberal Democrats leader, dies aged 55
  • 30 May 2015: U2 tour manager, Dennis Sheehan dies in Los Angeles hotel room at 68
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The US comedy actor Robin Williams was found dead yesterday by the Marin County, California Sheriff’s Office, apparently by asphyxiation. Williams had been suffering from depression and announced he would re-engage in a twelve-step program.

Williams was the star of a whole series of comedy films winning an Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting and Golden Globes for his acting in Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire, and The Fisher King. As well as films and television, Williams did stand-up comedy and appeared on chat shows; he appeared on the finale of Johnny Carson‘s tenure hosting The Tonight Show.

Williams’ initial claim to national fame was his role in Mork and Mindy where he played an alien who comes to earth, falls in love and gets married to a woman, Mindy McConnell, played by Pam Dawber.

Susan Schneider, Williams’ wife, said: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

President Barack Obama paid tribute to Williams: “Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalised on our own streets. The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin’s family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”

Comedian Steve Martin tweeted: “I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.”

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted: “I can’t believe the news about Robin Williams. He gave so much to so many people. I’m heartbroken.”

Born in 1951, Williams leaves behind his third wife, and three children: daughter Zelda, 25, and two sons—Zachary, 31, and Cody, 19.



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